Costel, I choose you! Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini ready to throw Pantilimon into heat of Bonfire clash

By Paddy Dinham

Manuel Pellegrini has hinted that Costel Pantilimon will keep his place in goal and make his Manchester City Champions League debut on Tuesday against CSKA Moscow.

Pantilimon brought Joe Hart’s run of 123 consecutive Premier League starts to an end on Saturday as City thumped Norwich 7-0.

Victory at the Etihad on Bonfire Night would put City six points clear of third place CSKA, effectively guaranteeing progression with group whipping boys Viktoria Plzen still to travel to Manchester.

And Pellegrini sees no reason to change a winning formula and hinted Hart’s omission from the team could be an extensive one.

“At this moment we need a change. We are all behind him and try to recover him as soon as we can,” he told BBC sport.

“I think Joe is a very important player, he is a great goalkeeper but everyone can have a bad moment in their career.

“He has it at this moment and I am sure he will improve with a bit of a rest.”

City go into the game full of confidence following their biggest ever Premier League win and the largest by any team this season.

A Bradley Johnson own goal was followed by strikes from David Silva, Matija Nastasic, Alvaro Negredo, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko as City ripped the Canaries apart.

Pellegrini was delighted with the consistent ruthlessness his team showed.

“The team played really well during the 90 minutes, not only the first half,” he said.

“Normally when winning 4-0 at half-time, in the second half a team finish or stop. But the team continued playing exactly the same and that’s very important for me.” 

Image courtesy of MCFC Official via YouTube, with thanks

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