The Barclays Manager of the Month, Manuel Pellegrini, spoke confidently ahead of the away tie against Crystal Palace. In the face of injuries to players like Delph and Silva, Pellegrini remained quietly confident of his teams’ chances.
Manuel Pellegrini was unsurprisingly awarded the Barclays Manager of the Month after four wins in four games at the helm of Manchester City. City have been doing brilliantly without most of their summer signings featuring prominently, leaving the manager with a peculiar problem as he selects his starting XI. Pellegrini shed light on the status of his team and his thoughts on the opposition in the pre match press conference.
‘He will be a very important player for us during the year’
In his own understated way, Pellegrini waxed lyrical over his newest acquisition, former Wolfsburg winger Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian, who cost the club a record 70 Million Euros, is more likely to feature in the side due to the untimely injury of playmaker David Silva.
a I think he is a very important player. He has some characteristics the same as Raheem (Sterling) that we need in our squad.
a He is 100 percent fit. His position is easy to settle in our team so I think he will be a very important player during the year.a
Despite a forgettable tenure under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Pellegrini believes that De Bruyne will come back to the Premier League a different man. Pellegrini gave an open ended reply, when asked about the Belgian’s potential, remarking simply a It is very difficult to say what can be his potential. He is a very young player – 24 years old.”
‘It’s not easy for a defender to play so soon’
Notwithstanding his side’s success, Pellegrini seems more than aware of what his team is capable of achieving. Nicolas Otamendi’s arrival from Valencia has prompted many to assume that he would take the place of Eliaquim Mangala, alongside Vincent Kompany. However, the Frenchman’s recent performances have won him praise from the Argentine, throwing Otamendi’s position in the team into some doubt.
With Sagna picking up a knock for France during the international break, many speculated that Otamendi would be used to cover the right-back position. However, Pellegrini put both matters to bed as he claimed that Sagna was match-fit while opining on Otamendi’s situation at the club.
“Otamendi is ready to play but he didna t work too much with us as he was away. It’s not easy for a defender to play so soon.”
The Argentine said that it ‘wasn’t ideal’ for him to go for the international break but admitted that controlling a situation like that was out of his hands. While acknowledging that he was ‘100%’ fit, the Argentine coach hinted that it might be to soon to hand the defender his debut against Crystal Palace.
‘The priority is just Crystal Palace, and we are just focussing on that game’
Ahead of a daunting midweek clash against Italian Champions Juventus, Pellegrini was unsurprisingly asked about his team’s ability to cope with two tough fixtures in a short period of time.
“We are just thinking about Saturday, and nothing about Tuesday.”
Pellegrini furthered his stance by citing the challenge of facing Alan Pardew, regarding him as a man who, “always has a good team with good performers”.
City’s own record against Crystal Palace has not been a favourable one, with the manager citing that the sides unpredictability adds to their great success in the transfer market.
Returning to the scene of perhaps his greatest managerial turn-around, Manuel Pellegrini will hope that Selhurst Park proves a launching pad for his team once more. With fans gunning for his head in April, Pellegrini’s 2-0 win away at Crystal Palace heralded a period of recovery and ushered in a winning run that is yet to end.