Monday 26 February 2018

Plugging City's leaky defence a big priority for Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini

Jamie Holland

MANCHESTER CITY manager Manuel Pellegrini insists his team are working hard to iron out their defensive problems.

While City have been hugely impressive in attack this season – scoring 56 goals in all competitions – they have appeared vulnerable at the back at times.

Their weaknesses have been most noticeable in the absence of inspirational captain and centre-back Vincent Kompany, who has missed 12 games through injury.

Matija Nastasic, Martin Demichelis, Micah Richards and Gael Clichy have also had spells on the sidelines, while the issues concerning goalkeeper Joe Hart have been well documented.

Concerns were far from the mind in last Sunday's 6-0 thrashing of Tottenham but elements of the performance in the 4-2 defeat of Czech minnows Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday did see them resurface.

"In the last two games here at home in Champions League, both teams scored two goals. It is too much," said Pellegrini.

"Especially in the last game – Plzen did not just score two goals, but they had more chances. We are working every day in that sense."

Pellegrini will be hoping that the imminent return of Kompany will further bolster the back line although the Belgian, who has been out for close to two months, will not feature against Swansea tomorrow.

WOES

Nastasic is facing another three weeks out with a calf injury and so Demichelis may again partner Joleon Lescott.

City's injury woes have seen Pellegrini deploy several different central-defensive partnerships and he accepts that has not helped.

"If you play in attack and you play not so well, it is not so important for the team," he said.

"Goalkeepers and centre-backs can make one mistake in a game and maybe the other team score a goal, so the position is different and the injuries we have had is one of the causes."

City have scored 22 of their goals in their last four home games, including last week's destruction of Tottenham and a 7-0 rout of Norwich.

Pellegrini, who was tasked with improving City's style when he took charge in the summer, has no intention of curbing his team but just wants to get the balance right.

"For me the most important thing is to win the next match," he said. "If we can win 1-0, perfect. If we can score eight goals, also perfect.

"We are going to try always to be an attacking team, but also a balanced team."

Pellegrini would not confirm whether Hart or Costel Pantilimon would start in goal against Swansea.

Irish Independent

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