Manchester City will be without defenders Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker and John Stones for the remainder of their title run-in, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.
City’s injury worries worsened during the 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle on Sunday – a result which moves them three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table – when Dias appeared to aggravate his recent hamstring injury and was substituted towards the end of the first half.
As it stands, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo are the club’s only fit specialist defenders.
“In this situation it is not a problem,” Guardiola said. “If Rodri has to play in that position it is not a problem, or if it’s someone from the academy.
“We have 13 players and a half for these games and everyone has to do more and more to help our absence. We arrive with problems and that’s all.”
Nathan Ake is also a doubt for the midweek game against Wolves, though he could return for the final two fixtures of the season.
Dias only returned to training four weeks ago after a spell on the sidelines with the problem, which he sustained in he 2-0 win over Peterborough in the FA Cup on 1 March.
Kyle Walker had returned for the midweek defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, which Guardiola admitted was a “risk”. It did not pay off as the full-back had to be replaced by Zinchenko in the second half.
Stones, meanwhile, has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in the first leg of that semi-final.
On Sunday, City quickly put their latest European disappointment behind them and were already 2-0 up by the time Dias was replaced with Fernandinho thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Laporte.
Rodri added to their lead just after the hour mark before Phil Foden added a fourth at the end of regulation time and Sterling made it a brace in the 93rd minute.
With City on the verge of a fifth title in 10 years, they face Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday before travelling to West Ham on Sunday. Their final game of the season is at home to Aston Villa on 22 May.
Depending on Liverpool’s results, they may have already wrapped up the title by then, but goal difference could also prove crucial. City currently have a +4 advantage over the Reds, while they have scored two more goals over the course of the campaign and conceded two fewer.