Friday 25 May 2018

Milner unfazed by lack of match action under new Man City boss Pellegrini

James Milner is working his way back into the first team
James Milner is working his way back into the first team

Simon Stone

JAMES Milner does not believe it will be long before he is being quizzed about how many games he has played rather than a lack of match action at Manchester City.

The Blues midfielder has made just two brief substitute appearances for City so far this season.

Yet rather than fret about his chances of making an impact under new coach Manuel Pellegrini, Milner knows with the crush of fixtures that will follow when he returns to club duties in seven days' time, problems of another kind will soon start to surface.

"We are not too far out of pre-season and everyone had plenty of minutes there," said Milner.

"The level we have at training is very high, so you keep yourself ready for the games.

"It's early in the season, but right up until January there are going to be two or three games a week and players are going to be playing more than enough.

"In a few months' time you'll be asking me 'are the players too tired' and 'have they played too much football going into a World Cup'."

Milner has not felt the need to seek out Pellegrini for a chat.

Speaking at St George's Park, where he reported on Monday for the start of preparations for England's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, Milner confirmed the Chilean had been a visible presence on City's Carrington training ground and opted to address the players himself, a stark contrast to the aloof nature of predecessor Roberto Mancini.

"The manager speaks to the players a lot," said Milner.

"It helps to keep that contact with the manager which we hadn't had before.

"Every manager has his own style and this manager speaks to the players more than the last one.

"There's no right or wrong, every manager has his own style, it's down to how they're comfortable with dealing with the squad.

"With this one we know exactly what's going on. I might be worried if I hadn't had contact with the manager but he keeps everyone in touch."

Milner had words of support for City team-mate Joe Hart, who has come under fire after a series of mistakes for club and country already this term.

"He's a victim of his own success," said Milner.

"People said he had a poorer season last season but he won the Golden Glove.

"When we played Dortmund last year it was one of the best goalkeeping performances I've ever seen.

"We could have lost that game 8-1 very easily and that's not exaggerating.

"I am blessed as a midfielder because if I miscontrol the ball I've got four defenders and a goalkeeper to save me.

"If Joe makes a mistake it's going to end up in the back of the net. That's the unfortunate thing about being a goalkeeper.

"But he is a top keeper and we're lucky to have him."


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