Pep Guardiola explained why Kevin De Bruyne was an unused substitute in the FA Cup loss to Liverpool on Saturday night.
The dependable midfielder suffered an injury midweek against Atlético Madrid, which made him doubtful for the Wembley match.
Speaking after the match, Guardiola said he did not want to risk the Belgian before the end of the season.
“He still had four stitches in his right foot when he hit the ball,” Guardiola explained in his post-match press conference.
“He could walk and run, but the ball was bothering him and in the end if he played and opened two or three stitches, we would probably lose him more.
“Of course Kevin was happy in the situation and could play maybe from the start because he’s feeling good, maybe play in the second half, but I didn’t want to risk losing him, should he open up again or get an infection.
“That’s why I made this decision. When you play a lot of games and difficult, these situations can happen.”
Liverpool scored three goals in the first half to kill the match, before two goals in the second half from City.
Guardiola acknowledged that injuries played a role in his decision not to make the maximum changes in the second half.
“Kevin couldn’t play, Kyle couldn’t play, but that’s how it is with the season we have,” he added.
“We have the situation, but it is what it is. We play a lot of games and we don’t have the biggest team.
“When everyone is fine, but if there are a few injuries it is not enough.
“Riyad was decent, Rodri [too]. Others there were problems.
“Fernandinho played great, Bernardo and Joao and I think Gabriel was playing well and Raheem was playing well, which is why sometimes you don’t.
City’s next game will be at home against Brighton, on Wednesday evening.