Daniel Farke revealed the sobering state of his injury list could leave Norwich without up to 11 players for Saturday's visit of champions Manchester City, but he remained surprisingly chirpy given the situation.

Farke's pre-match news conference on Friday was verging on farcical, as the German steadily went through a list of players who are either injured or a doubt for the match against City.

The Canaries' defence has been utterly decimated by the crisis, as they will definitely be without Max Aarons, Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann, while Grant Hanley is only fit enough for a place on the bench, Ben Godfrey is a major doubt after sustaining a groin strain on England Under-21 duty and Tim Krul is struggling.

That leaves them with only Jamal Lewis, Sam Byram and Philip Heise as recognised first-team defenders.

They also have problems in midfield, with Tom Trybull, Mario Vrancic, Moritz Leitner and Onel Hernandez ruled out, and Patrick Roberts is ineligible against his parent club.

Despite the issues, Farke has no plans to go all-out defensive in an attempt to salvage a point.

"Manchester City are exceptional, they are so special," Farke told reporters. "If you just try to park the bus then you have no chance.

"It is important that you have periods where you control the ball and are in possession. We will have to be top class in our defending and be disciplined.

"It will be also important that we bring our style and try to dominate possession and be good with the ball.

"Even if I wanted to, I can't park the bus because I have no defensive players anymore. We will have to concentrate on our skills.

"There were more lads today [Friday] on the physio bench than on the training pitch. It is a tricky situation for us.

"We are playing one of the best teams in the world, if not the best, and as a newly promoted side you always have to be at your best."

Farke, though, was still able to remain light-hearted about Norwich's situation.

"Our injury situation is not easy at the moment, but we will try to handle it anyhow. I will return to my darkened cave after this [news conference] and cry," he quipped.

Alexandre Lacazette has been ruled out until October due to an ankle injury, Arsenal have announced.

Lacazette has hit two Premier League goals this term but will sit out Sunday's trip to Watford.

He will also be sidelined when Arsenal get their Europa League campaign up and running away to Eintracht Frankfurt next week.

Arsenal indicated Lacazette has been playing through pain in his left ankle but is "likely" to return next month.

"After assessments to an ongoing ankle issue, we have advised that Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness," said a club medical statement.

"Alex has been playing through this injury for several weeks."

Matches set to be missed by Lacazette include a trip to Manchester United in the Premier League on September 30.

Pep Guardiola is delighted with Raheem Sterling's form but has urged the Manchester City attacker to ignore comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The England international has starred for club and country this season with eight goals and three assists in seven matches.

Sterling earned plenty of plaudits following his man of the match display against Kosovo on Tuesday, with former City and England winger Trevor Sinclair claiming he is on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi.

Guardiola has played down the comparisons, however, believing that nobody can match the two players who have battled it out to be the world's best for more than a decade.

"I'm so happy for him, for the way he's playing here and national team, but hopefully he won't read or listen to these kind of things," Guardiola said at Friday's news conference. 

"Nobody can compare with Cristiano or Messi. 

"I don't know if he's the best in England. Since we're together, not just now, he's been incredible with his work ethic. He's a nice guy. I'm delighted for him."

Sterling has been responsible for five of City's 14 goals in their opening four Premier League matches, the reigning champions collecting 10 points from their opening run of fixtures.

Liverpool are two points better off with a perfect return but Guardiola insisted it is too early to call it a two-horse race at the summit, especially with the games now coming thick and fast.

Speaking ahead of City's trip to Norwich City on Saturday, Guardiola told reporters: "I'm not predicting. Every week there are incredible predictions - there's a tendency for that but we've played four league games and that's nothing.

"We start the real competition, we play Saturday, then travel, play Wednesday, land Thursday, Saturday we have Premier League and then we go to Preston to play in the EFL Cup. 

"Of the next five games we've got four away, so many things can happen. We've had two terrible injuries with Leroy [Sane] and Aymeric [Laporte]. 

"It's too early to say what is going to happen. Chelsea, United, Tottenham, Everton doing well, everything can happen, but it's four games. In February or March we can say better. Now it's just four games and it's nothing."

Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are still at least a week from returning to action with Arsenal, coach Unai Emery confirmed.

Spain international Bellerin twisted his knee in January and has been out ever since, while Tierney – a pre-season arrival from Celtic – has a groin injury he suffered before moving clubs.

The club confirmed on Thursday the pair had returned to full training.

But neither is ready to feature in Sunday's trip to Watford, with Emery adamant they need a minimum of another week's training and potentially involvement with the under-23s.

"We need to look at the next steps in each training and also if we decide to play with under-23s, maybe they can take confidence, better rhythm and then be ready to play with us at 100 per cent," Emery said of the pair in Friday's pre-match news conference.

"They did this week the first time training normally with us. We want the next week to take the normality training with us.

"After that week we can decide how they are to start playing with the under-23s and us [the first team]."

Sunday's match will be Watford's first since dismissing coach Javi Gracia and reinstating former boss Quique Sanchez Flores as his replacement.

Despite the change, Emery is not anticipating huge alterations to the team from Sanchez Flores.

"They finished with Javi Gracia and did a very great season last year. Now they've signed a very great coach also with Quique Sanchez Flores," Emery said.

"We [Emery and his staff] played against him in Spain, his teams are very organised. He has a good experience here in England and the Premier League with Watford. I respect him a lot.

"He is going to know the team and players. He knows some players because he trained there three years ago. He's going to do well.

"I really respect every coach. I think now with Sanchez Flores they will continue working well like they were doing with Javi Gracia.

"We are going to respect them, prepare the match thinking about us and after respecting their characteristics.

"Their characteristics are going to be the same. They are going to push a lot with their supporters, they have very good players."

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte will miss up to six months after undergoing surgery on his knee, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

The France centre-back damaged cartilage and the lateral meniscus in his right knee during City's 4-0 win against Brighton and Hove Albion on August 31 and had an operation four days later.

Guardiola on Friday confirmed the extent of Laporte's injury for the first time, with the 25-year-old not expected to play again in 2019.

Asked how long Laporte will be out, Guardiola told reporters at a news conference: "Long time. Five months, six months. Next year, sure."

Laporte's long-term lay-off leaves Guardiola short of options at the back, but John Stones is back in contention after recovering from a thigh problem that has kept him on the sidelines for the past five weeks.

Jose Mourinho claims Alexis Sanchez flopped at Manchester United because he was a "sad man", but has backed the Chilean to reignite his love for football at Inter.

Sanchez joined the Italian club on an initial season-long loan deal two weeks ago after struggling for form and fitness during his 18 months at Old Trafford.

Much was expected of the Chile international following his switch from Arsenal in January 2018, but he managed just three goals in 32 Premier League appearances.

Mourinho was in charge of United at the time of Sanchez's arrival and is willing to accept some of the blame for the ex-Barcelona forward's lack of impact.

"I felt him [to be] not a happy man," Mourinho told The Telegraph. "I think in every job you have when you are not happy it is not so easy to perform at every level. 

"Maybe I am wrong - maybe it was me who was not capable to get into him and to get the best out of him.

"As a manager sometimes you have the capacity to get the best out of the players and other times you are not successful in that approach. 

"But the reality is that I always felt [of Sanchez], 'a sad man'. So probably in Italy he will recover this. I hope he can. I always wish well to every player."

Inter also took Romelu Lukaku from United on a permanent basis during the transfer window and Mourinho has no doubt the Belgian will continue to score regularly in Italy.

"[He has scored] for West Bromwich Albion, for Everton, for United," Mourinho said. 

"In terms of Lukaku the move looks more like player ambition, player desire to change, than [the notion] he didn't deliver anything for the club."

Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked by United last December and is desperate to find the right job, believing he has always picked difficult projects.

"For sure my next job will be a difficult one because I am very bad at choosing projects," he said. "I am either bad at choosing projects or the bad projects choose me. But it is always the same. 

"When I go to Real Madrid, it is because Madrid are in trouble. When I go to United it is because United are in trouble. When I go to Chelsea the first time it is because they haven't won the league in 50 years. 

"When I go the second time it is because their top team disappeared and they want to be champions with a new team. When I go to Inter it is because they haven't won the Champions League for 50 years.

"I have never had one of these clubs where it is, 'Come on, the team is here ready'. But that is the nature of things. When the teams change coaches in the middle of the season it is for a reason. It is because of bad results."

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki has won the Premier League Player of the Month award for August following a flying start to the new season.

The former Celtic flop scored five times in Norwich's first three games on returning to the top flight, including a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

His superb form continued over the international break with two more goals for Finland in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Greece and Italy.

Pukki opened his Premier League account with a consolation strike in a 4-1 loss to Liverpool, who have compiled a perfect record after four games.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp scooped the Manager of the Month award for leading the European champions to victory over the Canaries and defeats of Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley.

Liverpool face Newcastle on Saturday as Norwich entertain champions Manchester City.

Antonio Rudiger is ready to return from the knee injury he suffered in April and could feature against Wolves on Saturday, head coach Frank Lampard confirmed.

Germany international Rudiger needed surgery on the meniscus of his left knee after suffering the injury in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on April 28, subsequently ruling him out of the final month of the 2018-19 season.

Although Chelsea managed to secure a third-place finish in the Premier League and won the Europa League without Rudiger, their start to the new campaign suggests they have missed his influence at the back.

Chelsea have conceded nine goals in just four matches, with only Norwich City shipping more, and claimed a solitary win in the process.

But having featured in a couple of Chelsea Under-23s games, Rudiger is ready for first-team action.

"Rudiger is fit to play," Lampard told reporters at his pre-match news conference on Friday. "That's obviously a choice for me [if he starts], but he'll have an important role because of his personality, character and quality as an international defender.

"We have missed him, as we have with a few more frontline players. It is important as a team, everyone talks about how young we are and becoming, I don't want a young team for the sake of it.

"I want leaders within that. Rudiger isn't old but he certainly needs to take on the responsibility of being a leader.

"I see it in his personality that he has. It has to be channelled in the right direction and he can then be very influential for the team and also for the likes of [Callum] Hudson-Odoi, [Mason] Mount and [Fikayo] Tomori. This happens when you become more experienced and he is ready to take on those roles."

N'Golo Kante remains sidelined, however, having suffered an ankle injury against Leicester City in Chelsea's second league game of the season.

"[Mateo] Kovacic is fit to play, N'Golo is not fit yet," he added. "He still has issues with his ankle. The medical team are working with him.

"He is in a transition period and we are trying to get him on the pitch. He is doing some physical work but this game comes too soon for him.

"Hopefully he is close. I don't want to jump the gun because we are waiting for improvements for that final step to get him where we want him to be on the pitch.

"Hopefully that will be in the next week or so, and again, alongside Rudiger, Willian, Callum and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek].

"They are big players who are really going to up our level because they will compete to play. Pedro is fine too, yes."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains hopeful David de Gea will sign a new contract with Manchester United and see out his career at Old Trafford.

The Spain international is into the final season of his existing deal and has yet to commit to fresh terms despite months of discussions.

De Gea has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Real Madrid in the past and can open talks with foreign clubs from January over a pre-contract agreement.

Solskjaer rates the 28-year-old as the best goalkeeper in the business and is keen to get him tied down for the long term.

"I want David to stay here," Solskjaer said at a news conference on Friday. "He knows that and he's the best goalkeeper in the world - we've seen that over the years and I hope I can make sure he'll finish his career at Man United at the highest level.

"And there have been loads of talks, lots of discussions between David and the club and hopefully we can get it done."

De Gea appears certain to retain his place in goal for Saturday's visit of Leicester as United aim to end a three-match winless run.

Another regular at the back this season has been Harry Maguire, who joined from Leicester in an £80million transfer in August and Solskjaer sees the England centre-back as a future United captain.

"I think he's been brilliant," Solskjaer told reporters. "I think he's come into the dressing room and been a leader. He's also a leader on the pitch and I'm sure he's looking forward to playing against his old team. 

"Now he's here he's gonna be a big part of the future of this club, we've watched him enough to know he's the guy we wanted that's why we spent the money we did on him. 

"He's a definitely a character and personality that can be captain of a big club. In the dressing room, he's a leader both by performances, presence, stature and behaviour, he's a character you say you'd like to follow."

Another player rated highly by Solskjaer is Wales winger Daniel James, who has started the season in stunning fashion with four goals in six matches for club and country.

"After scouting him and speaking to [Wales boss Ryan] Giggs, I'm not surprised," he said. "Daniel's come in and when you score in your first performance at Old Trafford you get confidence and he's been great for us.

"There's more to come - he's got that X-factor with his pace, explosivity in and around the box. He's been practising right foot, left foot and he'll score more goals."

Solskjaer has confirmed United will be without midfielder Paul Pogba for Saturday's match, while Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka may also miss out.

Juan Mata has urged Manchester United's players and supporters to "stick together" following the club's slow start to the Premier League season.

United are eighth in the table after failing to win any of their three matches since beating Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Mata played a part in the away draws with Wolves and Southampton, either side of a 2-1 home loss against Crystal Palace, and the Spanish midfielder has admitted improvement is needed.

"We had a great start against Chelsea and a big result," he told United Review.

"After that, two difficult games away where we should have got more, but football is not about deserving - although I think if you constantly deserve, you’re going to finally get what you deserve.

"Especially at Southampton - we should have killed the game. Obviously, Crystal Palace at Old Trafford we cannot repeat. We cannot lose these kinds of games and know we have to improve."

United have finished outside of the Premier League's top four in four of the past six seasons and Mata conceded neutrals take joy in seeing his side fall short.

"My message [to United supporters] is always being grateful for what they give us," he said. "I understand their frustration when we don’t get the results they deserve, so I feel sorry for that.

"But what I can do, individually, and what we can do, as a team, is give our best. Fans recognise that."

He added: "If we want to get our objectives, we need to stick together - managers, players and fans - because there's many people on the outside enjoying it when Manchester United don't win. It's key for us to stick together as a whole."

United return to action on Saturday with a home match against Leicester City.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been ruled out of Saturday's Premier League clash against Leicester City due to injury.

Pogba was forced to withdraw from international duty with France after injuring his ankle in United's 1-1 draw with Southampton on August 31.

The 26-year-old has started all four of United's matches this term but will sit out this weekend's visit of Leicester, barring a "miraculous recovery".

Providing an injury update at his pre-match news conference on Friday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told reporters: "Pogba won't be fit, unless he's had a miraculous recovery overnight from yesterday to today, or maybe from tonight to tomorrow.

"He's not been ready to do 100 per cent training, no."

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard also pulled out of England's squad through injury and illness respectively, while Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial played no part in the draw at Southampton.

Solskjaer does not expect any of his walking wounded to play a full part against Leicester and Thursday's Europa League match with Astana may also come too soon.

"The treatment room has been busy and still is," he said. "We don't really know who is going to be available.

"Maybe Aaron, maybe Jesse and I think maybe that's it from the ones that had to pull out [of the internationals], but I can't promise those two will be available either.

"We hope that more can be ready for West Ham next week and Paul and Anthony are in that category. I think they'll be ready for then and I can't say more than that really."

United have gone three games without a win since beating Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend of the season and find themselves down in eighth, three points worse off than Brendan Rodgers' Leicester.

"Leicester is always a tough game, as a team, a club wanting to push into the top four," Solskjaer said.

"They've got good players, a good manager, a proven top manager - Brendan's teams always play with football and we've got to play well to get the three points.

Marcus Rashford believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relates to Manchester United's players better than Jose Mourinho and deserves time to carry out his long-term plan.

Solskjaer took over on an interim basis when Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 following a poor run of results.

The former United forward's position was made permanent in March and he presided over the recruitment of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire during the close season.

While results this season have been unconvincing, England international Rashford insists the squad remain supportive of Solskjaer's vision.

"Right now, everyone is confident in the manager," Rashford told the BBC. "We might not be doing what he's telling us to perfection yet, but the initial response to his tactics, his training has been phenomenal.

"For me, [the difference to previous managers] is just a plan. It's not a plan for just this season, or a plan for just the next game. It's a plan for years.

"I think [managers] need to be backed. In the position we are in now we don't need this rotation of managers, because you never settle."

Solskjaer proved a popular appointment with United fans as a result of his success as a player at Old Trafford.

Rashford thinks the 1999 Champions League hero's experience on the pitch gives him a unique advantage over predecessor Mourinho, who had a modest playing career in his native Portugal.

The 21-year-old said of Solskjaer: "Off the pitch he understands the players a bit more. I don't think it was a problem for [Mourinho], because he is obviously a top manager, and he has his way of reading people.

"But for me, when a manager has played, they have lived the lifestyle we have lived and they might be a bit more understanding."

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been ruled out of Saturday's Premier League clash against Leicester City due to injury.

Pogba was forced to withdraw from international duty with France after injuring his ankle in United's 1-1 draw with Southampton on August 31.

Mauricio Pochettino claimed his preference to keep Kieran Trippier was "so clear" despite the defender appearing to accuse Tottenham of keeping him guessing over their transfer plans.

England right-back Trippier moved to LaLiga side Atletico Madrid in July, bringing an end to a four-year stint in north London.

The 28-year-old endured an underwhelming final season with Spurs but last week said he had "wanted to stay" and might have done so had the club not "got rid" of him.

"I tried to speak to the chairman about it and I spoke to the manager about his plans and I didn't get a yes and I didn't get a no. So you get the impression," Trippier was quoted as saying.

Pochettino offered a different version of events and revealed the former Burnley player made contact through Harry Kane in an attempt to clarify his comments.

"He believed his words were twisted - I don't know anything more," said Pochettino, who did not receive a text message from Trippier due to recently changing his phone number.

"Kieran translated this message to me through Harry Kane. He wanted to tell me. But I've got no problem with Kieran.

"In football decisions happen and players move from one club to another. What happened happened, and we need to move on and he needs to think of Atletico Madrid and be happy there."

Pochettino added, according to several English newspapers: "The only conversation when he arrived after the summer was when he came to see me.

"He asked me for a meeting and said, 'Gaffer, I think I have a good possibility and for different reasons I would like to accept the offer from Atletico Madrid'.

"He didn't ask me nothing. He only communicated whether the club were going to accept the offer. Nothing more.

"It wasn't a conversation - 'Do you want me or don't you want me?'. It was so clear.

"He played the final of the Champions League, when I had plenty of different options, with Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Kyle Walker-Peters. But he played the final of the Champions League. My actions speak louder than my words."

Trippier joined Tottenham from Burnley in 2015 and went on to star at the World Cup three years later.

"We all feel proud to help him to achieve his dream and to reach a level that he wasn't at before he arrived at Tottenham," Pochettino said.

"That speaks very highly about Tottenham, very highly about him, and we are more than happy that he is enjoying the new experience in Spain.

"I hope he has a good life there."

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