Injury and fixture worries pile up for Manuel Pellegrini
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini fears his squad is getting stretched as the injuries and fixtures mount.
City suffered a blow to their title hopes as they were beaten 3-1 by Barclays Premier League league leaders Leicester on Saturday.
They have now slipped to fourth and trail the Foxes by six points ahead of next weekend's crucial trip to second-placed Tottenham.
To compound their woes playmaker David Silva left the field with an ankle injury that makes him doubtful for Spurs. He joins a lengthy injury list which, even for a club of City's resources, is damaging as they fight on in four competitions.
Pellegrini said: "Yes (it is stretched) because we have seven players injured at the moment in the same positions - two centre-backs, (Vincent) Kompany and (Eliaquim) Mangala - and in attack - (Kevin) De Bruyne, (Jesus) Navas, (Wilfried) Bony, (Samir) Nasri and now Silva. That makes it more difficult.
"Let's hope we can recover in the next few days. We didn't have the usual energy. We've been using only 14 (outfield) players in a very important month."
Surprise leaders Leicester have just the league to focus on and with few injury problems at present, they could have a clear advantage in the title race.
Pellegrini said: "I think it is important for Leicester that they are always able to play with the same team and they haven't got too many injuries at this moment.
"Going forward they have an advantage but I don't think that will be the only thing they need from now to the end of the season."
Pellegrini has warned that his side cannot afford to drop points at Tottenham on a key weekend when Leicester also travel to third-placed Arsenal.
He said: "We must recover as soon as we can after this defeat. We must have a very strong mentality and try to prepare for the game against Tottenham in the best way we can.
"It is another team that is fighting for the title and we need three more points here at home. At the same time Leicester are playing at Arsenal, the two other teams fighting for the title, but we we must win against Tottenham.
"In the way we are playing the season in every competition, every game is like a final, but it is very important just to focus on Tottenham now."