Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he barely has any players to choose from for their League Cup semi-final with Manchester United on Wednesday night, following a coronavirus outbreak at the club.
Six players, including Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and Eric Garcia, all missed the 3-1 Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday, after testing positive for Covid-19.
Guardiola says the players he does have available can’t be expected to perform at their top level all of the time: “To play one, two games is okay but if sustained for a long time - and you can use just 14 or 15 players - it will be more difficult”, he told Sky Sports News.
"The important thing is the guys who have Covid recover well and the others try to avoid it as much as possible."
- Elite sport to continue in England despite national lockdown
- Garcia the latest City player to test positive for Covid-19
Could Messi and Ramos play together at Man City?
Guardiola also commented on the continuation of elite sport in England, despite the Government imposing a new coronavirus lockdown.
"It looks like we are an island inside society, everything is locked down except ourselves," he said.
When people say football players are special maybe it is the truth, I couldn't believe it before - I thought the doctors, teachers, architects, every person was the same - but it looks as if everything is closed except our business.
"All the managers must adapt to the situation, this is the reality, we are not an exception.
"There are other clubs: we knew Newcastle had many (cases). Don't change the schedule, don't change the calendar, don't change the rules, we have to adapt."
Meanwhile, the City head coach is confident Kevin De Bruyne will sign a new long-term contract at the club.
The Belgium international midfielder has two and a half years left on his existing terms, but a new deal is on the table.
"I am pretty sure he will stay but at the same time we have to respect the process," said Guardiola.
"I don't know what is going on as I didn't speak with Txiki (Begiristain, City's director of football).
"But he knows how we appreciate him, not just as a football player but as a person.
"He is very important for the club. I am not worried. But at the end of course it is his decision."