Manuel Pellegrini has received Fernandinho as a major boost as the player is back from injury and fit ahead of Manchester City‘s Champions League match against Barcelona, but the Premier League team will be without Sergio Aguero in the match.
Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that Sergio Aguero will not play in the first leg of City’s Champions League last 16 tie against Barcelona.
The 25 year old’s season has constantly been interrupted by injuries which saw him missing out for a considerable time with a calf injury. Most recently, Aguero was ruled out with a hamstring problem which came during City’s 5-1 thumping win against Tottenham, in a game where he opened the scoring.
City manager Pellegrini confirmed the absence at his press conference:
“He is not in the squad list. We will see if he can be fit on Saturday, but maybe that is also difficult.”
City have received a boost in the form of Fernandinho returning, after successfully recovering from a muscle problem, and Pellegrini said
“He has a chance. He is in the squad list. We will see tomorrow who can start but he has worked without any problem.”
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City face a side which is regarded by many as the best, or one of the best three sides in the world and the City manager was posed the question whether he thought City was bigger that local rivals Manchester United if they beat Barcelona:
“If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it’s ours, but you cannot forget what United has done in the previous years. We are aiming to keep growing by winning many trophies – not just national but international trophies. We are fighting for four titles this year. We have to be patient because you cannot change the team from one day to another. We have to keep the philosophy of the style and for that you need time.”
When asked about the importance of beating Barcelona, the City boss answered:
“It is a good test. It is important. I don’t think it is the most important thing because we are just in the round of 16. We can beat Barcelona and maybe in the next round you can have defeat. This club is trying to develop those areas. So far we have a good season and we must finish that way. One or our targets is to continue in the Champions League knowing we play against [and beat] the most important club in the world.”
Pellegrini also said that his side would not alter their playing philosophy to tackle Barcelona’s attack:
“When you play against Barcelona, against important teams, you always must consider important things. But I think the most important thing is to try to be the same team that you are seeing every week here in the Premier League. That for me is very important, to continue having the style of play, to continue having the personality to try to beat Barcelona. You cannot play without considering that in front you have Lionel Messi, you have other important players. But we are not going to play just thinking of defending and not thinking of what we can do with the ball.”
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