Belfast Telegraph

Man City's Pellegrini feels the pain as Aguero misses out again

By Andy Hampson

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists Sergio Aguero's injury is not serious, but he is still unsure when his leading striker will return.

Aguero has missed two games since limping out of last month's victory over Southampton with a heel injury and will again be absent as they host Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League tonight.

Both manager and player have played down the problem, but the 27-year-old also seems unlikely to return before the Premier League visit of Swansea on Saturday.

Asked if the injury was proving more serious than thought, Pellegrini said: "No, but it is an injury that he cannot work on. He needs time to recover from that problem but it is not a serious injury, it is a pain injury.

"We hope he will return this week, but we must see the way he improves in the next days.

"When he can run with normality he can work, but if he cannot operate with his heel it is very difficult for him to do."

Pellegrini is also uncertain when influential captain Vincent Kompany might be back in the reckoning.

The Chilean said: "Vincent is improving. He is doing some tests on his calf, on which is the best way for him to improve. We will see in the next days when he can return."

City have had problems with injuries throughout the campaign. Kompany has missed the last five games with a calf problem while Aguero also had an earlier spell out with a hamstring issue and David Silva only recently returned after a near two-month absence.

Samir Nasri is a long-term casualty, Fabian Delph missed most of the opening three months of the season and other key players such as Joe Hart, Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta have had time out.

All of this could be a factor in City's recent patchy form, which continued with a 2-0 loss at Stoke on Saturday, but Pellegrini claims it is too early to assess the performance of back-up players.

Hhe said: "I always say I prefer to play with the whole squad then I can choose the best XI starters, but if the starting XI has six or seven players injured we must make a balance of the whole season. You cannot have a conclusion after one game."

Asked directly if the likes of Wilfried Bony, Nicolas Otamendi, Martin Demichelis or Eliaquim Mangala were not delivering, Pellegrini said: "I analyse the individual performances with the players, not with the press."

Toure will return, but with six others on the sidelines, Pellegrini is unlikely to make changes.

He said: "It will be the fifth game we play in 14 days, and for the last two we had less than 72 hours to recover. It is a difficult game because we have had too many games for the same players but we need to try and finish at the top of the group."

City can only top Group D if they beat Monchengladbach and leaders Juventus slip up at Sevilla. After finishing second and drawing Barcelona in the last two years that was a clear aim, but Pellegrini said: "If you don't finish at the top of this group, I don't think it is disappointing because we had to play twice against Juventus and we didn't beat them. If we don't win, we qualify but not in the way we wanted. After that I don't think we have to be always pessimistic about the draw."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph