Pep Guardiola is facing a mounting injury crisis with the fitness of Ilkay Gündogan, Rodri, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko all in the balance as Manchester City enter a crucial three-match, eight-day period.
On Tuesday, Wycombe Wanderers visit the Etihad Stadium in the Carabao Cup before City travel to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday and then Paris Saint-Germain for a Champions League group game two days later.
Gündogan is the latest frontline player to suffer an injury, the midfielder doing so in Saturday’s underwhelming goalless draw with Southampton at the Etihad. Guardiola said: “Now we are going to play the Carabao Cup [next]. We are going to see how many people [can] recover for the next days because we are in difficult conditions right but we will go there and to London and [Paris] to do good games.”
Guardiola will be forced to field some young players when City face Wycombe in the Carabao Cup, a trophy the club have won in each of the past four seasons. “I don’t have any alternatives, we are going to play a few young players, some first team players, but some will rest for the games we have ahead of us,” said the manager. “A few players from the academy are going to play because we have John, Aymeric, Rodri, Oleksandr, I think Gündogan, all of them are injured.
“Rodri had some muscular problems, not big but I don’t know how many days, the doctors could not tell me. Rúben [Dias] and João [Cancelo] played all the minutes [for us] and I do not think they will be able to play in this game. We will see [Monday]. We don’t have four or five days [to prepare], we have three to make a good selection. It’s an opportunity for the academy, that’s why they are there.”