Guardiola will miss the next two Premier League games after undergoing back surgery at Barcelona

Manager Pep Guardiola will miss Manchester City’s next two Premier League games after undergoing back surgery in Barcelona.

A statement from the Premier League champions says their manager has been struggling with back pain for some time and has undergone emergency surgery in Barcelona.

Guardiola’s operation was successful, but he will continue his rehabilitation in the Catalan city.

The 52-year-old is not expected to return to the City bench until after the international break, meaning he will miss this Sunday’s trip to Sheffield United as well as the visit of Fulham on September 2.

In his absence, Juanma Lillo – who returned to the club as assistant manager earlier this month after spending a spell coaching Al Sadd in Qatar – will take charge of training and matches for the treble winners.

This is not the first time City have had to cope without their manager since Guardiola first arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2016.

A Champions League ban in mid-2018 meant Guardiola put Mikel Arteta in charge of the team in September of that year, a group stage game which City lost 2-1.

Then, at the start of 2022, Guardiola missed an FA Cup third round match at Swansea City due to contracting the coronavirus.