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Pep Guardiola is recovering well from his recent back operation, Manchester City assistant boss Juanma Lillo has said.

The City manager is currently out of action after undergoing surgery last week but is expected to return after the upcoming international break.

Lillo took charge of the side for the treble winners’ Premier League trip to Sheffield United last week and remains at the helm for Saturday’s visit of Fulham.

“I speak very regularly with him, not just in footballing terms but professional terms,” Lillo said at a press conference on Friday.

“He’s much better and things are taking place in the way that they should do. All of us are delighted and are really looking forward to him getting back.”

Lillo was in contact with Guardiola throughout City’s victory at Bramall Lane last Sunday and during preparations for this weekend’s encounter.

“It’s the same as the previous game,” said Lillo. “With Pep there would be more energy but we’re in contact with him all the time.

“We share our responsibilities well, we have our roles very well defined by him and we will continue on the right path but he obviously continues to have input.

“We’re not quite finished in our preparation for the game.”

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John Stones is nearing a return (PA)

Defender John Stones is nearing a return to action after a thigh injury.

The England international was expected to be sidelined until after the international break but Lillo has delivered a positive update on his condition.

Phil Foden and Manuel Akanji have recovered from illness but Kevin De Bruyne is a long-term absentee.

Lillo said: “Phil is completely recovered from his illness, Manu’s problem was more for prevention rather than anything serious. He’s more or less there and John is more or less there as well.”