Manchester City will be without five players when they face Sunderland as Matija Nastasic has joined a lengthy injury list.
And manager Manuel Pellegrini admits it is a tough period of the season and feels City’s recent loss of form is attributable to their injury problems.
Defender Nastasic joins midfielders Fernandinho, Samir Nasri and Javi Garcia on the treatment table, while striker Sergio Aguero is also sidelined.
All five will sit out Wednesday’s game with Sunderland, although Nasri and Garcia are on the comeback trail and could be available for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Chelsea.
Pellegrini said: “Nasri and Javi Garcia started training today [Tuesday] with the squad. We will see in the rest of the week if they can be fit for Saturday.
“Nastasic is just a pain in his knee. I don’t think it will be very, very long. It is not an important injury. [As for] Fernandinho and Aguero, we will see but [it will be] one week more [before they return to training].”
Pellegrini believes the lack of goals is a result of their injury problems, saying forwards Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko are not fully fit.
He added: “Both performances were absolutely linked with the amount of players that were injured. We had five players less and we played with three players that played but that were not 100 percent, especially the strikers.”
City were prolific during Aguero’s previous spell on the sidelines but Pellegrini explained: “Maybe it wasn’t the same moment before [when] Sergio Aguero was injured but Negredo and Dzeko were fit. In these two games, Negredo was not 100 percent, Dzeko was not 100 percent and Aguero was not available.”