Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admits his squad is stretched to the limit after their opening win over Wolves.
City claimed an impressive 3-1 win at Molineux as Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus struck in their Premier League opener on Monday.
They remain without Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia while Ilkay Gundogan is self isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.
City start their defence of the Carabao Cup against Bournemouth on Thursday and Guardiola knows they cannot afford to lose others.
“All we want is the seven players that are out to come back,” Guardiola said.
“Now we have a competition that we cannot spend the energy that we spent today, before Leicester, so we’re going to play mostly academy players and try to keep the energy for the Premier League.
“With this lack of preparation and seven players out and not coming back soon, we have to keep the players from Monday as safe as possible.
“We’ll see how many are available, how they recover. We have just three days. We won the Carabao Cup three times in a row and we would like to continue. However, we don’t have the players in this period to play every three days.”
At Molineux, De Bruyne was brought down and then scored from the spot before Foden made it 2-0.
Raul Jimenez pulled a goal back for Wolves in the second half but Jesus’ deflected strike settled the game in injury time.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: “It’s clear we performed better in the second half.
“The players adjusted better, we created chances and moments. We scored late and we knew one goal would change everything.
“We should do better, especially defensively. The result cannot stop us from going in this direction. I take the positives but to play well we must defend better.”
CITY GIVE GREEN LIGHT FOR GARCIA EXIT
Eric Garcia could still leave Manchester City before the transfer deadline after Barcelona came to an agreement, according to reports.
Garcia does not intend to sign a new contract at City, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.
Barcelona are keen to re-sign the 19-year-old, who came through their academy before leaving for England three years ago.
However, they have been struggling to agree a fee with City. Especially given that they could sign him for nothing next summer.