Manchester City's chances of Champions League progression now look even slimmer after Manuel Pellegrini revealed David Silva will not be fit in time to take on Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
City's hopes of qualifying from their group were already thin with them having picked up just two points from their opening four games, and Silva's continued absence will do nothing to improve spirits in the camp.
Silva returned to light training earlier this week giving Pellegrini hope he may be available for Tuesday's visit of Bayern, but the City boss has now revealed his playmaker will not be fit in time.
The Spaniard picked up a knee injury during the 2-0 League Cup defeat to Newcastle in September and is still a week away from being ready. With Yaya Toure and Fernandinho unavailable through suspension and Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov injured, City face a monumental task as they attempt to take three points from Group E's runaway leaders.
Silva's involvement in City training at the end of this week had given fans reason to believe he may be able to play some part on Tuesday night, but Pellegrini has dismissed his chances of making the squad.
"David still feels some pain in his knee, so he’s not able to kick the ball. We’ll see if next week he can be ready at the end of the week. It will depend on the way he improves in the next few days," he said.
Silva becomes the third key midfielder to be ruled out of the match after Toure and Fernandinho both picked up red cards in the 2-1 defeat to CSKA Moscow.
City are by no means out of the competition just yet, although they know even maximum points from the visit of Bayern and a trip to Roma on the final match day may not be enough to see them through. Should they fail to progress to the knock-out stages for the third time in four seasons, two disappointing results against CSKA will be pinpointed as a major factor.
City had looked comfortable in Moscow before surrendering a 2-0 lead and walking away with just one point, while the home fixture against the Russians yielded even more disappoint as the hosts were reduced to nine men in a 2-1 defeat.
Pellegrini has been boosted by the return of Vincent Kompany, who he revealed will be included in the squad to face Swansea on Saturday, alongside Frank Lampard and Eliaquim Mangala. The City boss also insisted his full focus will be on his Welsh opponents on Saturday, not Tuesday's crucial match.
Pellegrini said: "We are not thinking about Europe. We are thinking about the Premier League. We must try to make up the points we have behind the leaders.
“It is very important to try to win. After we finish the game against Swansea we are going to start thinking about Bayern."