Manchester City travel to Spain to face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie as they look to make history by qualifying for the final for the first time.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Manuel Pellegrini provided injury updates and gave his opinion on tonight’s game, spoke on Cristiano Ronaldo and his return to Madrid.
On tonight’s game
In his pre-match press conference, he spoke of Manchester City’s aim to get to the final and insisted they have faith in their abilities as well as the personality to win it. On returning to the club he once managed, “It’s always good to be back at the Santiago Bernabéu” saying that he had very good memories of his time there.
“We have the opportunity to make club history but we will have to play well,” he said. On his game plan for tonight’s match, “We tried to press and steal the ball in Manchester but it was not a good day. Tomorrow we will try to have possession and attack from the first minute.”
Squad injury update
Pellegrini will welcome back Yaya Toure, after having to keep him out of their last two games because of a thigh injury. There was speculation over whether Toure would be available for Wednesday’s clash. City’s official Twitter account had said the Ivorian was left out of the squad, but later confirmed that he had traveled. Speaking on Yaya Toure, he said, “He has a lot of experience and quality. He won a Champions League for Barcelona here so he will be important.”
Pablo Zabaleta is set to miss out due to a muscle injury and David Silva is out with a hamstring injury from the first leg. “The only injury in the squad was David Silva, he cannot play, and Pablo Zabaleta, he has a muscle injury from the last game he played against Southampton. All of the rest of the players in the squad are fit,” the manager said. Captain Vincent Kompany has returned and was rested against Southampton. (via ESPNfc)
On Cristiano Ronaldo
It has been reported that Cristiano Ronaldo is back in full training and is fit for City’s clash, after missing out on the first leg at the Ethiad and Madrid’s league game against Real Sociedad. Pellegrini will be all too familiar with the player, having coached him in his first season at Real Madrid. Pellegrini said: “Cristiano will always be a different player — he scores a lot of goals and has throughout his six years here. However, I don’t think Real are just Cristiano Ronaldo. We must work as a team defending and attacking. Not just against Ronaldo but against Real Madrid.” (via ESPNfc)
Manchester City will be facing not just Crsitiano Ronaldo, as Pellegrini rightly said. The likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and the entire Santiago Bernabeu will be in City’s way tonight as they look to make history by reaching their first ever Champions League final to face Atletico Madrid.