Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted his profligate side did enough to take home three points from Villa Park on Sunday, in spite of the stalemate in counterpart Remi Garde’s debut.
City went into the game top of the Premier League having won eight of their last ten matches, with their opponents unhappily glued to the foot of the table.
But Remi Garde’s reinvigorated side provided City with a more obstinate task than expected, as the Clarets, captained by former City man Micah Richards, earned a point despite conceding numerous chances to a wasteful City side.
Pellegrini said: “We’re disappointed because I think we did enough to win the game. We had clear chances, but didn’t take them and this happens in football.
“We dominated and they had just one shot on our goal. We had three or four very clear chances to score and we didn’t, but we did enough to win.”
Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne were particularly guilty of spurring guilt-edge opportunities for the away side as City suffered without a focal point in attack, after Wilfried Bony – who had scored five in his last six games – limped off after 23 minutes with a hamstring complaint.
Pellegrini bemoaned the ‘unfortunate’ loss of his striker, but he also insisted that Villa defended well.
He said: “They had nine out of ten often in their box.
“We tried to make a breakthrough. Two or three times we were very unlucky.
“I said before that it was going to be a difficult game. They have a new manager and a lot of motivation. They changed their system.”
Former Villa captain, Fabian Delph, was treated to a hostile welcome on his ignominious return to the Midlands, but recognised that his chilly reception was always going to come.
“It was great, the fans gave me great support there,” the England international said.
“They always had my back and it was always going to be interesting coming back.
“Obviously we never picked up the three points which we came to get but we never lost the game either, so we’ve got a point there and we’ve got to concentrate on the next run of games after the international break and try and push on.”
Speaking of his recent injury troubles, Delph was evidently pleased to be back in action and keen to prove that his move to City was not solely financially-motivated, but induced by a desire to contribute to a title-winning side.
“I’ve had a lot of injury problems when I was younger but I seemed to have overcome them,” said the former Leeds midfielder.
“It was the first time in about four years that I’ve managed to pick up a niggle and it’s been frustrating, but I’m finally back fit.
“The medical team here have been unbelievable with me.”
Looking forward to City’s next Premier League game after the international break, against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on the 21st, Delph said: “Every game is a huge game.
“Today was a huge game and we’ve not managed to come away with the three points, but we’ll put that behind us now, look forward, and we’ll look to get three points from ou next game.”
And a point, which keeps City top of the table ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, may not have been the worst result for City, who will now hope to have a fully-fit squad for their matches after the break and kick on from there.
“I always say if you can’t win, don’t lose,” said Pellegrini.
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