Manchester City face defender shortage
Manchester City could have just three fit defenders for Saturday's Premier League crunch with Chelsea.
After last night's 2-1 Carling Cup defeat at West Brom, Roberto Mancini revealed he is desperately short of defensive options for the visit of Carlo Ancelotti's men.
Unless Micah Richards recovers from a hamstring injury that kept him out at The Hawthorns, Mancini will have only Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure available to face the only side left with a 100% record.
"We have big problems," he said.
"I hope that Micah Richards can recover. If not I don't know who can play left-back."
The obvious inference is that should Richards miss out, Zabaleta will play on the right side and City would look for an alternative on the left flank.
That could either involve Adam Johnson being pressed into emergency service, or more likely a midfield such as James Milner or Gareth Barry.
Either way, further injury fears shaped Mancini's team selection at The Hawthorns where, having taking a first-half lead through Jo, City were undone by two goals in as many minutes from Gianni Zuiverloon and Simon Cox.
"We couldn't take any risks," he said
"If I had more players available it would be a different team.
"But when you play like us and Chelsea, on Saturday at 12.45, the time to recover is very short.
"They would need minimum three days so to play tonight would have been dangerous."
It is to be hoped owner Sheikh Mansour understands the dilemma.
After spending £1billion on City in just over two years, he was presumably hoping for an early end to the club's lengthy trophy drought.
That now cannot happen until May at the earliest, although Mancini has no regrets.
"I don't regret making the changes," he said.
"Saturday is more important, the FA Cup is more important. The Europa League is more important.
"I did not regard this as a necessary sacrifice. We wanted to win. That is why I had four senior players on the bench.
"But I knew there was a chance we could lose because we started with six young players.
"I am happy with these guys. We might have lost the game but they can improve. If they do not play tonight, when will they ever play?"
West Brom assistant boss Michael Appleton declared himself delighted with the result.
He said: "It was a great result. Really positive. Made numerous changes and the lads responded well.
"We were second guessing their side bearing in mind they have Chelsea on Saturday but there was still a lot of experience in the side.
"They brought the cavalry on at the end and we were under the cosh for the last 15 minutes but we did enough to win."
Latest in Sport
- 1 2015 General Election: Green party will not appear in TV debate alongside Ukip – says BBC
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'