Monday, 25 April 2016

Pellegrini Doesn't Look Back in Anger

Pellegrini - Getty Images
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is unlikely to face Real Madrid in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg because of a thigh injury.

Toure was hurt late on in Saturday's 4-0 win over Stoke but stayed on as they had used their three substitutes.

Captain Vincent Kompany, who has only played 20 times this season for the club, says he is "100% fit" after repeated calf injuries.

Real are bringing all their players to Manchester despite injury concerns. They are hopeful Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit despite missing Saturday's 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano with a thigh injury.

But fellow forward Karim Benzema is a doubt after limping out of the match in the first half.

Toure, 32, has featured in all but one of City's Champions League matches during a campaign that has seen them reach the last four for the first time.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has not ruled the player out of next week's second leg in Spain, saying the club will assess his fitness over the coming nine days.

Defender Kompany was rested for Saturday's home win over Stoke but is ready to return and insists he and his team-mates are ready for the challenge of facing the 10-time European champions.

""There's not a day in my life where I'm thinking these occasions are stressful or difficult," said the 30-year-old Belgium international.

"I want this for myself - and at this level all players want this for themselves. You have to play against those players as many times as we can and try and beat those teams.

"That's what's going to make history for this club.

"For every single player in the team, if you're not hungry tomorrow, then you'll never be hungry in football."

Asked what role City's supporters could play in helping the team gain a first-leg advantage, he said: "The biggest.

"I have never seen a Manchester City team not turn up when the fans are up for it. It's an appeal to them that they have to be as loud as they've ever been. Otherwise, what's the point in buying your ticket to come in?"

The tie brings City's outgoing manager Pellegrini up against the club that sacked him in 2010 after just one season in charge.

However, the Chilean, who is leaving City at the end of the current campaign to be replaced by Pep Guardiola, said: "I don't look back. I always prefer to think about what is happening now.

"I'm happy if we win the title, but I'm not wishing anything for my future."

Pellegrini also called on his team to control their emotions after having players shown red cards in previous big European games.

They had a man sent off in both legs of the last-16 defeat by Barcelona in 2013-14, while Gael Clichy was dismissed in the first leg of last season's loss to the same opponents at the same stage.

"We need to have a very hot heart but a cold mind, that's a lesson we've learned," Pellegrini added.

Manchester City and Real Madrid's only previous competitive encounter was in the 2012-13 Champions League group stages. The Merengues won 3-2 at the Bernabeu before a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium.

For the sixth time in a row, Real Madrid will play the first-leg of a Champions League knockout tie away from home.

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