Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini hopes to have David Silva and Raheem Sterling available against Juventus on Tuesday – but Sergio Aguero is a major doubt for the Champions League opener.
Spanish playmaker Silva was left out of Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 win at Crystal Palace to rest an ankle knock and England winger Sterling was sidelined by a hamstring strain.
But the key duo are expected to be in the frame when City get their European campaign under way at the Etihad Stadium and Pellegrini said: “I hope both of them can be fit on Tuesday. We will see.”
However, striker Aguero could miss the Group D curtain raiser after limping off during the first half against Palace with a knee injury.
Pellegrini, who was angry that the challenge by Eagles skipper Scott Dann which forced Aguero off was not punished with a red card, is waiting for an update on the Argentinian’s fitness.
“It was an important kick on his knee,” he said. “We’ll see if he can recover between now and Tuesday. It’s very difficult to say now. It’s important to see how he recovers. We’ll see.”
Following Aguero’s premature departure it was left to 18-year-old substitute Kelechi Iheanacho to hit City’s last-minute winner and maintain their 100 per cent record this season.
Victory left City five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League on Saturday evening, and a whopping 11 points ahead of champions Chelsea.
“It’s important to have a good start, to have 15 points from five games,” added Pellegrini.
“We’re not just playing against Chelsea, although they are the champions. It’s an important gap.
“We were eight points behind last year and, in January, we were level. If you lose points at the beginning, you can lose them in other parts of the year. We have to continue playing the way we are.”
Palace manager Alan Pardew admits City already have the look of potential champions, but warned that they are not home and hosed just yet.
“I think it’s a great result for City and they are in a great position,” he said.
“The other teams have it all to do, Chelsea are adrift and that will take some making up. But this will be an unpredictable league.”