First team coach David Platt admits Manchester City must find a way to cope without Yaya Toure if they are going to defend the Premier League title.
Toure has been the driving force in City's midfield this season and he and brother Kolo, the centre-back, will be sorely missed when they head to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast next month.
City endured a patchy spell when the pair were absent last season and the Toures may be away from early January until 24 February, depending on results in Africa and the FA Cup.
Platt hopes City's title bid will not be badly effected as they chase down rivals Manchester United and believes other players can fill the void in the side.
"I'm not too sure how many games he is gone for but it's something we have known about and will have to deal with," he said.
"We lost him last year and won the league. The kind of player he is, it would be more beneficial to have him and it's similar with Kolo.
"But we will get on with it. It's like an injury - you want the full complement to choose from.
"We have a dressing room full of quality players and we have to cope with it."
Platt played down claims that City will splash out on big-name replacements for the brothers in the January transfer window.
"The type of player that would benefit one of the top clubs, not just Manchester City, is likely to be involved already at a top club who are chasing honours and wouldn't want to let them go," he said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't do any business."
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Can Manchester City cope without the Toures during the African Cup of Nations?