Belfast Telegraph

Manuel Pellegrini eyes Sergio Aguero return as Man City draw a blank against Aston Villa

Aston Villa 0 - Manchester City 0

By Nick Mashiter

Manuel Pellegrini hopes Sergio Aguero will return for Manchester City next week after his wasteful side dropped crucial points at Aston Villa.

The manager wants the striker back in action after Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Fernando, who hit the bar, blew three golden chances in the 0-0 draw at Villa Park yesterday.

Wilfried Bony also limped off with a hamstring injury in the first-half to add to City's attacking woes as they drew a blank for just the second time this season.

Aguero has been out for seven games with a hamstring injury but Pellegrini confirmed he is close to a comeback.

"I hope Sergio, Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta will do their last work with the physio and next Monday will start working with the squad ," he said.

"We will see in the way he (Aguero) improves this week but I think he can be (fit after the international break). It will be easier for us to have a striker.

"Bony has a hamstring injury and we will see how long he will be. He might go (with the Ivory Coast) because the doctor of his country must review him but I don't think he will be playing."

But, despite the stalemate, Pellegrini refused to blame his wasteful side, including De Bruyne after his flicked backheel was scuffed wide from just four yards.

He said: "Those are the decisions the players have in one second and he decides it's the way to finish. It is difficult to tell him he has to do it another way.

"I don't have anything to complain to my team about. They played very well. We were very unlucky with three or four clear options we had. Sometimes these things happen in football."

City are now level at the top of the league with Arsenal after the Gunners' 1-1 draw with Tottenham yesterday but Pellegrini didn't watch the game.

"It's important to rest, we can have nothing to do with Arsenal's game. If they drop points it's better but if not I don't think the title will be finished with this match," he added.

The point ended a run of seven straight defeats for Villa but they remain bottom of the Premier League, five points from safety, after Remi Garde's first game in charge.

They have won just once this season - on the opening day - but Garde was pleased with the result, despite admitting Villa got lucky.

He said: "We have been a bit lucky because they hit the bar, we didn't create so many chances. City were full of confidence, they were brilliant in Sevilla so it's a good point to work on.

"I was not frustrated not to get the three points. I am realistic, we were only threatening sometimes but it's quite a good start.

"We have to believe we can be safe. It will be a tough mission even if we have one more point. Let's see what happens.

"You have to be lucky but you have to work hard. You create that, the behaviour you need to get lucky. It would have been very disappointing for us not to get a point if they had scored."

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Richards,Clark, Amavi, Veretout, Sanchez, Gana, Gil (N'Zogbia 65), Ayew (Gestede 84), Sinclair (Bacuna 72)

Subs not used: Lescott, Richardson, Bunn, Grealish

Man City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Fernando, De Bruyne, Toure (Delph 78), Sterling (Iheanacho 84), Bony (Jesus Navas 25)

Subs not used: Caballero, Mangala, Clichy, Demichelis

Booked: Aston Villa: Guzan

Man City: Otamendi

Man of the match: Raheem Sterling (pictured)

Attendance: 36,757

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph