Manchester City are in an “emergency” with just “14 or 15” senior players for Wednesday’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa, says boss Pep Guardiola.
Barcelona target Ferran Torres misses out with a foot problem, while defender Aymeric Laporte is suspended.
Kevin de Bruyne is yet to resume training despite testing negative after a bout of Covid-19 and will not play.
Phil Foden and Jack Grealish – who joined City from Villa for £100m in the summer – are doubts.
Even if they are passed fit, Guardiola says the pair “cannot play a lot of minutes”.
Coming into the busiest time of the season, when nine Premier League games are crammed into six weeks, Guardiola is concerned.
“We are in an emergency in the squad because we have few, few, few people,” he said
“We never complain when it is not possible for players to play because of injuries or red cards because I trust the squad a lot and other players can come in.
“But we are in real trouble for December – the toughest month of the year. We have just 14 or 15, players. And a lot of players have played a lot of minutes.”
With John Stones fit, Guardiola does have 15 senior players available for the Villa match, even without Foden and Grealish.
In addition, youngsters Cole Palmer and James Mcatee are expected to be involved.
The length of De Bruyne’s absence is still not certain, with Guardiola saying the Belgian needs to do some work on the training ground before he can be considered.
“Kevin is back but he needs time to be fit,” he said. “All the people who had Covid explain that they are drained and tired and need time and Kevin is a player who needs to be fit otherwise he cannot show his top quality.”