Pep Guardiola said his squad is stretched to the limit as Manchester City prepare to launch their League Cup defence after Monday's opening Premier League win against Wolves.
City claimed an impressive 3-1 victory at Molineux on Monday as Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus struck in their Premier League opener.
They remain without Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia while Ilkay Gundogan is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.
City, who have won the League Cup for the past three seasons, start the defence of their trophy against Bournemouth on Thursday and Guardiola knows they cannot afford to lose more players.
"All we want is the seven players that are out to come back," he said.
"Now we have a competition that we cannot spend the energy that we spent today, before Leicester (on Sunday), so we're going to play mostly academy players and try to keep the energy for the Premier League.
"With this lack of preparation and seven players out and not coming back soon, we have to keep the players from Monday as safe as possible.
"We will see how many are available, how they recover. We have just three days. We won the Carabao (League) Cup three times in a row and we would like to continue but we don't have the players in this period to play every three days."
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