Manchester City have suffered a major blow in their hope of retaining a place in the top four after Manuel Pellegrini revealed that skipper Vincent Kompany could be ruled out for the rest of the season.
The reigning Premier League champions are currently on a free fall and have lost their last four league matches, including a 4-2 hiding in the Manchester Derby.
The Chilean manager along with a few of his top players, including Kompany have come in for plenty of criticism after their title charge came tumbling down following losses to Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United since the turn of the year.
Now they find themselves in a battle with the above mentioned trio for a place in the top four. The Merseyside club currently in fifth place are just four points behind the champions with six games to play.
They are also without a few other key players for their game against West Ham United on 19 April including January signing Wilfried Bony.
"He has a muscle injury – we don't know how long. We don't know if he will be fit before the end of the season," Pellegrini said, as quoted by the Guardian.
"Jovetic, Bony, Clichy, Milner and Kompany are not fit for Sunday. [Dedryck] Boyata is fit – he started working yesterday," the Chilean added.
But the City boss refused to get drawn into the speculation and backed the player to continue for the Etihad Stadium outfit.
"Yaya is a very important player for our team. All of you are waiting for me to criticise him but he will continue," Pellegrini concluded.