Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has confirmed he will not play his first team in the Europa League, if they can qualify for it.
Sky Sports reports how the Citizens go into their final Champions League group game against Borussia Dortmund this evening, knowing they cannot make it through to the knockout stages.
But, in order to secure a place in Europe's second tier competition, the reigning Premier League champions must finish third by beating their Bundesliga opponents in Germany, and hope that Ajax do not beat Real Madrid.
Mancini insists that Manchester City would like to win the Europa League, but admitted he will play a weakened side on their Thursday evening encounters, with one eye on protecting their domestic league form.
"If we go in the Europa League, we will play different teams," said the Italian tactician. "When you play in the Champions League on a Tuesday or Wednesday you can use the same team on a Saturday or Sunday in the Premier League.
"But with the Europa League this is impossible. If you don't get any help from the FA, then this is the problem with the Europa League.
"We want to play in it, we want to try and win it, but if we do stay in it, we will play two different teams, one Thursday and one Sunday."
Manchester City's Abu Dhabi hierarchy are determined to see the team competing in Europe in the New Year, both for prestige and to boost the club's UEFA co-efficient ranking.
However, they accept that the Premier League takes priority, and so officials will allow Mancini to pick his side as he sees fit.