Manchester City are sweating on the extent of a “stupid” injury that threatens to rule Sergio Aguero out of a key stage of the title run-in.
When Aguero missed last weekend’s draw at Stoke, Blues assistant boss David Platt dismissed it as a minor ankle injury the club’s £38 million record signing had suffered in training the day before.
Now manager Roberto Mancini has revealed the problem to be more serious, and certainly more complicated.
Mancini was cryptic in his explanation, leaving the significant fact about exactly what has happened to Aguero unanswered.
However, he did confirm the South American would miss today’s encounter with Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium and could not say for certain whether Aguero will have recovered by the time City head to Arsenal on April 8.
“Sergio has a problem in his foot but it is better we don’t talk about it because it is a stupid injury,” said Mancini. “It is not his fault but he can’t play with this injury for a week, 10 days, two weeks? I don’t know.
“For us it is a big problem because we lost Sergio against Stoke and tomorrow he can’t play. We hope we can recover him for Arsenal but I don’t know if it is possible.
“I am really disappointed and I hope it won’t be weeks.”
Mancini declined to elaborate but even the bare details raise significant questions as he had already stated that Carlos Tevez was not fit enough to be handed a starting spot against a Sunderland side that have already beaten City once this season.
That leaves Edin Dzeko, who has scored just five times in his last 25 appearances and none in his last six, and the enigmatic Mario Balotelli as Mancini’s only other forward options.
Mancini has also had to deal with the fall-out from more controversial comments by football development executive Patrick Vieira about supposed favouritism from referees for Manchester United.
“Sometimes it can happen [big teams get decisions],” said Mancini. “It is normal everywhere. But I don’t want to talk about what other people think. Patrick is a clever man. He knows what he wants to say.”
David Silva’s form appears to have dipped from the levels set during a dynamic opening half of the campaign but Mancini, who has apologised to Stoke counterpart Tony Pulis for not shaking his hand last week, is not concerned about the former Valencia playmaker.
He said: “David Silva has played a lot of games — Champions League, Europa League and national team.
“Maybe you arrive at a moment when you can’t play 100%. But he always played here — this is impossible.
“I hope he can recover in the next games. He is happy here and his strength has improved a lot in the Premier League.”
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has strongly denied he has reached an agreement to take over as manager of Manchester City at the end of the season.
A report in Spain yesterday claimed the Real Madrid boss had agreed to take over from Roberto Mancini at Eastlands this summer.
But the Portuguese, who is under contract at the Bernabeu until 2014, firmly insisted at a press conference ahead of his side’s Primera Division match with Osasuna that was not the case.
“I deny that I or anyone on my behalf has reached an agreement with City,” the former Chelsea boss said.
“I have a contract and do not have to answer questions that have no foundation.”
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