Sergio Aguero will need a “miracle” if he is to recover from a thigh injury in time for next month’s Manchester derby, according to Pep Guardiola.
The Manchester City striker was ruled out for at least “a few games” on Monday after limping off during the win over Chelsea at the weekend.
City are already without long-term absentees Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané, while full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko is struggling with a knee problem.
Guardiola confirmed that Aguero will almost certainly miss the visit of Manchester United on 9 December, with Gabriel Jesus set to deputise.
“He will be out a few games,” the City manager said. “I don’t know exactly [how long], a few weeks but he will be out. It will be a few weeks
“Of course we are going to miss Sergio as we need him. Unfortunately we’ve had a lot of problems with injuries – big ones with Aymeric and Leroy – and now we will miss him.
“Meanwhile we have Gabriel and Raheem Sterling who can play there in that position. We are going to live without him for a while.”
City welcome Shakhtar Donetsk to the Etihad on Tuesday night, requiring only a point to qualify from Group C and reach the Champions League knock-out stages.
Domestically, the Premier League champions face a string of testing fixtures with trips to Newcastle and Burnley before the derby against United at home.