Friday 20 September 2019

Manuel Pellegrini hopeful on Sergio Aguero return for Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne, right, and the rest of his Manchester City team-mates drew a blank against Villa
Kevin De Bruyne, right, and the rest of his Manchester City team-mates drew a blank against Villa

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

The manager wants the striker to return after Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernando, who hit the bar, blew three golden chances in the 0-0 draw at Aston Villa on Sunday.

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 on Monday how long he will be. Maybe he must 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 our team (about). They played very well. We were very unlucky with three or four clear options we had. Sometimes these things happen in football."

The result moved City a point ahead of title rivals Arsenal, who kicked off against Tottenham after City's draw, a nd Pellegrini insisted he would not watch the game.

"It's important to rest, we can have nothing to do with the game of Arsenal, 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 Barclays 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 touched the bar, we didn't create so many chances, I know that. 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 today. Let's see what happens.

"You have to be lucky but you have to work hard, luck is not coming knocking on your door and saying 'look, I'm here'. 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."

PA Media

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