Roberto Mancini is complaining that his 250 million pound squad lacks the depth to be able to cope with injuries. Mancini”‘s anxiety over the topic is likely to raise a few eyebrows among other managers and supporters alike who have watched Mancini compile his expensive squad in order to mount a serious assault on the Premier League title.
Manchester City currently sits top of the pile, but the squad has been depleted this month through the suspension of club captain Vincent Kompany for four matches, for his red card against Manchester United on Sunday.
On top of the impending Africa cup of nations, which puts the Toure brothers, Yaya and Kolo, out of league action until, at the very latest, February 12, there are concerns about strikers Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli, who are struggling with knocks, Carlos Tevez has been frozen out of the squad, to the extent that he may be shown the door during this transfer window.
“All the people think we have a lot of players,” Mancini told a news conference ahead of Wednesday”‘s League Cup semifinal first leg against Liverpool. “But we have 19 plus keepers. It is not a big squad.”
“If we are unlucky and we have three or four players injured, like at this moment, we can have a problem. The club knows this.”
Mancini suggested last week that City may look to bolster their squad, but not without selling the likes of Tevez and Wayne Bridge, who does not even have a squad number, first.
Since 2008 and the Abu Dhabi-based Shiekh Mansour takeover of the club, City has spent more than 600 million pounds on players.
City announced recently the biggest ever financial loss in English football, a staggering 194.9 million pounds, for 2010-11.
As a result of UEFA’s financial fair play rules, which come into effect in 2013-14 and aim to stop reckless spending on wages and transfers, City has spoken of moving towards more sustainable spending levels.
The club’s spending has yielded rewards, however, with City winning their first major trophy in 35 years, last season’s FA Cup.
This season saw City’s first appearance in the champions league, exiting at the group stage, and the club has established a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League, giving them a great chance to bring the title across Manchester, away from bitter rivals United.
The player absences, though, have come at a time Mancini has earmarked as crucial to their chances of picking up some more silverware.
“I said four weeks ago that December and January would be crucial months,” said Mancini. “Until three weeks ago we didn’t have any injuries. Now we have a problem. We have players injured and others who went to the African Nations Cup at a crucial moment. I am not happy about this, but we can’t do anything about it.”
With Carling cup semifinals coming up, as well as critical league clashes against Wigan and Tottenham, the next few weeks could be tough for understaffed but overfunded City.