Manuel Pellegrini insists he is unlikely to add to his Manchester City squad this month, despite being short of cover in the heart of his back four.
Inspirational captain Vincent Kompany has experienced a problematic season thus far, with a calf injury restricting his appearances to 12 in all competitions. And now City have suffered another blow, with Eliaquim Mangala picking up a hamstring strain in the 2-1 League Cup defeat at Everton to leave just Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi as their only fit centre-halves.
In some ways, January is a suitable time to collect injuries during the season as it at least allows the affected club to enter the transfer market for reinforcements, especially those as cash-rich as the Etihad Stadium club. However, Pellegrini has revealed the return of fullback Pablo Zabaleta will allow Bacary Sagna to play a central role, meaning he is unlikely to seek signings this month.
“Bacary is an option to play as a centre-back. He has done it before and he likes to play in that position,” he said. “He is an important option, especially now that Zabaleta has recovered from his injury and will start playing. For the moment, we continue with the same squad. I trust a lot in them and in the first four months of the season we could do it, so I think we can finish that way also.”
City are still gunning for glory on four fronts this season, but there is little doubt that their chances of success will be enhanced when Kompany returns to the fold. But Pellegrini is refusing to rush the Belgian international back, adding: “Vincent is progressing the same way a muscle injury must progress, with time, but you cannot try to hurry him up because he needs the days to have a good calf.”