Pellegrini: Let’s focus on this season
- 05 February 2016 13:12
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
His last press conference stole headlines across the globe but Manuel Pellegrini was only interested in talking about Leicester City on the eve of a mouthwatering first v second clash.
The Chilean confirmed that six players will miss the game against Claudio Ranieri’s high-flying Foxes.
Wilfried Bony, Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas are all out of the Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium.
However, there was a positive update on the fitness of the skipper, with Manuel confirming that Vincent should be back in full training next week.
“Kompany and Mangala both started working partially with the squad - unfortunately Mangala has another injury and he’ll be another couple of weeks,” Pellegrini revealed.
“I hope after another week, Vincent will be back working with the squad fully.
“We know exactly what happened with the injury to Vincent now. The risk for the future is exactly the same as it is with every player. It’s important now for Vincent to start playing again as we have just 14 senior players. That’s not so many for so many games.
“Navas has a muscle injury in his hamstring. He’ll be out for a minimum of three weeks.
“We didn’t expect Bony to be out for so long but I hope next Monday we will see a full medical report. He’s improving a lot but it’s an inflammation of the bone which is bringing him a lot of pain. We’ll see if he can start working with the squad next week.”
Pellegrini refused to discuss Pep Guardiola’s summer arrival in any detail but he did put on record how important he feels it is to have the matter out in the open.
The 62-year old just wants to focus on each game, starting with Leicester.
“It’s not a relief - it’s important for everyone to know that I know what was happening and that no-one was doing anything behind my back,” Pellegrini said.
“It’s important to talk about this season and not the next one. I’m not talking about those things - we just talk about the present. Just ask me about the team and the game.
“The players must always think about the next game as it’s the only way to be successful. With or without the news, things in football change so quickly.
“It’s the same at every club - the players must know that they must win the next game and that’s why we’re just thinking about Leicester.
“Very happy with the support from fans - not just because they knew what happens next season but for the whole two and a half seasons but because we play good football and challenge for titles, always trying to be a scoring team.”
Leicester have undoubtedly been the surprise package in this season’s Premier League.
The Foxes are currently three points clear of City at the top of the table but Manuel is not surprised by their incredible form.
He also poured cold water on any notion that this game could be seen as a title decider.
Pellegrini declared: “They have a very good squad with not many players injured. They play with the same team every week. They have less games than other teams but I think the merit of the squad is very important.
“In football, not only finances make the difference - of course you must buy players to win the title but I always said the big teams but every year there’s a surprise. Leicester are all thinking and doing the same thing at right moment. That can equalise the finances.
“I don’t know if you can compare but what we did at Villarreal was similar. We reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and finished second in the league.
“Maybe it’s not a team with a lot of possession but they defend very well with a lot of concentration and they counter-attack with a lot of speed. If you have the commitment of the players as a manager, that’s the most important thing.
“It’s not the biggest game of the season so far- we can win or lose this game and the Premier League will not end here. We have 39 more points to fight for. You cannot think you’re champion if you win and if you lose, there are lots more points.
“It’s a good game, a big game but not decisive.”