City face player shortage after Given ruled out for three months

They may be the richest club in the world but Manchester City could have just 16 senior players available for tonight's Europa League last-32 second leg against Aris Salonika. Roberto Mancini yesterday confirmed that goalkeeper Shay Given will miss three months with a shoulder problem he sustained in the warm-up before last week's goalless draw in Greece.

The Manchester City manager will also be without Micah Richards and James Milner, who have picked up calf and hamstring injuries, for this evening's match, with Adam Johnson facing another two months out with an ankle injury and Mancini not knowing when Nigel de Jong will be back from his own ankle problem.

It was hardly a problem Mancini can have envisaged as he brought in half a dozen players last summer but even though youngster David Gonzalez can be recalled from a loan spell at Leeds as goalkeeping cover, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge all left on loan at the turn of the year.

They face 11 more games to grind out a Champions League place, and can expect as many as 11 more matches if they get through tonight – they are likely to face Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 – and progress to the finals of the Europa League and FA Cup.

"It's a big problem because this month will be very important for us," Mancini said. "When you play through to 20 March with one game every three days it's very difficult but we have 16 players and it will be important that we don't pick up any more injuries."

For all the issues he is currently dealing with – Mancini refused to comment on quotes from agent Kia Joorabchian claiming Carlos Tevez would welcome a move to Corinthians – the Italian maintains that this time next year his squad will be strong enough to cope with the demands of the Champions League.

He has been a keen observer of the European progress of United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham and his faith in his group – as well as the fact that he reached the final with Sampdoria in their first European Cup campaign in 1992 – gives him confidence.

"Every year you can improve," he said. "At this moment we are looking to finish second, third, even first, even though that's difficult, but we want to be in a Champions League position and try to win something.

"Next year it could be different maybe because we can improve the team. We need to improve because it's clear we are not like Barça, Madrid, Milan or Inter. They are teams that have played in the Champions League for a long time.

"We have big possibilities for the future here. This is a strong club. But there is a lot of work needs doing first."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine