By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Manuel Pellegrini blamed Manchester City’s humbling defeat at Stoke on the injury crisis at Etihad Stadium.
Despite splashing out around £150million on new signings last summer, the City manager claimed he had just 13 fit first-teamers available for the trip to the Britannia.
City were blown apart by Stoke on Saturday afternoon as only a string of excellent Joe Hart saves prevented them from tumbling to a more resounding defeat than 2-0.
Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure were among those missing, but Pellegrini still had a strong team, including expensive summer signings Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling. Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph.
Nevertheless, Pellegrini insists City’s injury long list was a massive factor in the result.
“We defended very badly but we are playing with 13 players in all competitions,” the Chilean said at his post-match media conference. “We had a lack of reaction, too many games for the same players.
“I always miss important names, but you have to play with the players you have. We must continue with the same 11 or 12 players, We wait for the medical report.”
Stoke sliced through City’s defence time and again, with front three Marko Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri all outstanding.