City feel the strain without Johnson

Roberto Mancini has expressed his disappointment with the absence of winger Adam Johnson. The England international injured his ankle in training last month, and has not played since the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on 22 January. City, despite continued progress in the FA Cup and Europa League since then, have taken just five points from their last five Premier League games and Mancini bemoaned the lack of wingers available to him.

"After Adam Johnson got injured we had a big problem because he is different to the other players," said the City manager after their 1-1 draw with Fulham on Sunday. "We don't have anyone else like that but he won't be back for another month."

City's recent Premier League run has coincided with a spate of injuries. Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards, Nigel de Jong and Shay Given are all unavailable. The lack of creativity in the side in Johnson's absence was exacerbated by the absences of David Silva and Shaun Wright-Phillips last weekend. Silva is out after injuring his ankle in the Europa League win over Aris last Thursday, while Wright-Phillips continues to labour with a back injury that prevents him from completing more than 20 minutes of first-team football. He was an unused substitute on Sunday.

These injuries have shrunk City's squad to the extent that Mancini has limited training as he tries to keep his players fit to play in three competitions. "We are so tired and fatigue is a factor," Mancini said.

"At the moment, we need all the players available because one match every three days, week after week, is very hard. But I can't keep the players fresh because we only have 14 players. We can't practise. It is not possible to train. We prepare for matches but we only have 48 hours to recover. It is a big problem."

After tomorrow's FA Cup fifth-round game with Aston Villa, Mancini's side have a league match with Wigan Athletic before travelling to Ukraine to play Dynamo Kiev. "It is starting to get tough," the manager admitted.

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