Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has defended his call for further investment in his team and says he does not have a big squad.
After spending around £250 million on new players since his arrival two years ago, Mancini attracted scorn on Friday when he claimed City would struggle to fill their substitutes' bench for the FA Cup tie against Manchester United.
As it turned out, City did come up with seven replacements, although they included Abdul Razak and Denis Suarez, who have just six first-team appearances between them, all but two from the bench.
And things may be even worse for Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final as David Silva is a doubt, in addition to Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko.
Gareth Barry does return from suspension, but the possibility of skipper Vincent Kompany serving a four-match ban at a time when resources are already depleted with Yaya and Kolo Toure on African Nations Cup duty has led Mancini to consider involving 17-year-old Dutchman Karim Rekik.
''All the people think we have a lot of players,'' said Mancini. ''But we have 19, plus keepers. It is not a big squad. If we are unlucky and we have three or four players injured, like at this moment, we can have a problem. The club knows this.''
With the transfer saga over Carlos Tevez dragging on and reports that he will have to sell players before he can buy again, it all adds to Mancini's sense of frustration in a period he always felt would be pivotal to his side's chances of landing some silverware.
''I said four weeks ago that December and January would be crucial months,'' he said. ''Until three weeks ago we didn't have any injuries. Now, we have a problem.
''We have players injured and others who went to the African Nations Cup at a crucial moment. I am not happy about this but we can't do anything about it. If we don't get the players back we will play with the young players. If we don't have a central defender we will play with (Karim) Rekik.''