(London) Pep Guardiola said on Friday he doubted the presence of Erling Haaland in the semi-final of the Club World Cup in Jeddah, while the Norwegian from Manchester City, returning from injury, should not be lined up for the home match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, barring any surprises.

“Haaland arrived today (Friday), the doctors will see him and we will see how he feels,” Guardiola explained on Friday. “He was treated abroad. We hope he can go to Saudi Arabia and we’ll see if he’s able to play the first or second game, or when we come back. I don’t think he will play (against Palace) but maybe he will surprise me,” detailed the Spanish technician while City are in 4th place in the championship.

City’s top scorer, 19 goals this season, missed the win at Luton last weekend and the win against Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday due to a foot injury. He received treatment in Marbella, southern Spain, before returning to England.

The reigning European and English champions are due to travel to Saudi Arabia after Saturday’s match to try to add the Club World Cup to their treble (along with the FA Cup) from last season.

They will play a semi-final on Tuesday against the Japanese Urawa Red Diamonds, winners of the Mexicans de Leon (1-0), before the final or the match for third place three days later.

“It’s not a fracture,” Guardiola insisted when speaking about Haaland’s foot injury. “As soon as he’s no longer in pain, he’ll play.”

Guardiola also praised the quality of the teams coached by 76-year-old English veteran Roy Hodgson, now in charge of Crystal Palace. “I don’t remember any easy games against Roy Hodgson’s teams,” said the Spaniard. “Palace’s defense is brilliant and they don’t need much (to score) from set pieces with (Joachim) Andersen and the other guys,” he said.

Crystal Palace go to the Etihad on Saturday without having won in five Premier League games and remain on a run of four defeats. The Londoners occupy 15th place in the Premier League.