Roberto Mancini is concerned that the Blues will face Sunderland having had just two full days to recover following the 1-1 draw with Dortmund.
The City boss is expected to make several changes against the Black Cats as he attempts to invigorate his starting eleven after an exhausting midweek battle with the Bundesliga champions.
“We played on Wednesday night and on Saturday we start at lunchtime – it doesn’t give the players much time to recover which is why I had to rest some players against Dortmund,” said Mancini.
“We need at least five or six of the team to be fresh against Sunderland – every other country has at least three days before their next game – some have four – so this is a problem for us and for the teams in this country.”
Mancini knows his team face a difficult 90 minutes against a side that took four points off City last season. The Blues lost 1-0 at the Stadium of Light before fighting back from two goals down to draw at the Etihad Stadium.
“Every time we play Sunderland they give a fantastic performance and I think it will be the same for this game,” he said.
“We only took a point against them last season, but we battled back from 3-1 down with five minutes to go to draw 3-3 and that point perhaps won us the title. We need to remember that game and how difficult it was for us – but also for the spirit and determination we showed.”
The Blues’ boss also gave praise to former City winger Adam Johnson who left the Club in the summer, admitting that the England start could quite easily have still been among his squad under different circumstances.
“Adam Johnson was a terrific player for us, but he needed to play every game and we couldn’t guarantee that for him.
“I’m sure he will do really well for Sunderland and maybe even go to another top team in the future because he deserves this. I like Adam, he is a fantastic guy and I know he will do well for his club and his country.”
Though tomorrow will probably come too soon for Micah Richards, England defender Joleon Lescott could be in line for a recall.
“Joleon is a very important player for us and a very good defender,” said Mancini.
“Matija Nastasic played well at Fulham which is why he started against Dortmund but we will need fresh legs against Sunderland. It is a long season and we need all our best players to contribute.”