Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero is “a few weeks” from being ready to play as the Argentina striker recovers from coronavirus.
Aguero, already hampered by injury problems this season, has been self-isolating after falling ill with the virus.
City’s record scorer has made just three starts in all competitions this term and hasn’t played since January 3.
After testing negative for the virus, Aguero can now come out of quarantine.
But the 32-year-old has not yet restarted full training as he slowly works his way back to fitness.
“He is still not training on the field. He started to move a little yesterday but he will need a few weeks to come back,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday.
“He is negative, this is the most important thing. He is healthy again and now he will come back again. As the top scorer it is important for us to have him back.”
City will travel to Burnley on Wednesday in fine form after a club record 12 successive wins.
Eight of those victories have come in the Premier League, lifting Guardiola’s side to the top of the table, three points clear of second-placed Manchester United.
That represents a considerable turnaround after an indifferent start to the campaign in which City dropped points in five of their opening eight games.
After a trip to Turf Moor, City face title rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
But Guardiola refused to read too much into City’s blistering streak and is focusing only on keeping the good run going against Burnley.
“Six weeks ago we were not contenders for anything, six weeks later we are contenders. Everything can change so quickly,” Guardiola said.
“We can drop five points in two games in three days. It has happened to other teams so it can happen to you.”
Guardiola, who turned 50 last month, has been one of the greatest managers of his generation.
The Spaniard has won 29 trophies in a glittering managerial career that has also included spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Having recently renewed his City contract until 2023, Guardiola has his sights on a third Premier League title.
But the former Barcelona midfielder concedes life on the touchline cannot compare to how it feels to be a player.
“The pleasure for the players is incomparable. I would change right now to be a player,” he said.
“As a player you share it with your mates, the moments in the training session and the locker room.
“The manager has his staff and it is OK but you celebrate it in a different way. In the 90 minutes we can shout and move our arms but our influence is so minimal.
“I had the feeling when I had the ball at my feet that I could control the game, I can decide what is happening. Outside you cannot.
“Management is a way to continue to be involved in this lovely game, but I would change right now to have 20 years less and still play football.”