Man City manager Pellegrini places faith in wonderkid Iheanacho for Palace visit

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has quashed fears over his team’s recent lack of goal-scoring efficacy.

Pellegrini claims the Citizens are unpredictable enough to overcome Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Save for a 4-1 win over a struggling Sunderland side, City have not scored more than three goals in a Premier League match since November.

However Sergio Agüero’s improved form offers hope for City fans longing for a return to their characteristically prolific style.

It took a last-minute winner from teenager Kelechi Iheanacho in September to earn City all three points against a stoic Palace side at Selhurt Park, and the Nigerian striker’s promising form could also see him earn another chance against the Eagles.

“Kelechi is in the squad list – we’ll see tomorrow the starting XI,” said the Chilean.

“He’s a young player who is working every day with the team. When young players have the option to play games they have to take their chances and every time Kelechi has done that and played very well.

“We are without Fernandinho, [Eliaquim] Mangala, [Wilfried] Bony, Vincent [Kompany], [Samir] Nasri, Patrick Roberts.  

“Probably one or two of the players will be fit next week.”

City were on a four-match winning streak without conceding a goal last time they faced Palace, but Pellegrini is wary of taking solace from his side’s late success last time out.

“Every game is different, we had a very difficult game against Palace in London winning in the very last minute,” the former Real Madrid manager said.

“We were in a very good moment at the start of the season, scoring a lot of goals.

“They’re a strong team with important players.”

City winger Raheem Sterling was denied a late penalty claim against Everton’s John Stones, but the England international’s focus was firmly on Crystal Palace ahead of the weekend.

“They play with freedom and you can never really tell what they’re going to do as a team because on their day they’re good enough to beat most teams in the Premier League,” said the 21-year-old.

“They’ve got players who are allowed to express themselves and two wingers who like to get at the opposition full-backs at any point in the game to create something out of nothing.

“It’s good to see that they’re both scoring some important goals for their club but hopefully that’s something they won’t do against us – after that, I hope they keep having the type of season they’ve had so far.

“We know if we play anywhere near our best, this is a game we can win.”

Summer signing Fabian Delph was in similarly buoyant mood, insisting: “With the quality we have here, I don’t think any [team] poses a threat to us at home.”

The former Aston Villa midfielder has made 15 appearances for Manchester City since his move in spite of niggling thigh injuries, and emphasised his desire to contribute to his new side’s Premier League campaign in a topsy-turvy season.

“I hope to be involved as much as possible and I’m always ready to play when needed or called upon,” he said. “You’ll get nothing less than 100% from me.”

“Every week teams around us seem to be dropping points at the same time we do so as long as it stays like that or we put the points on the board and they don’t, it will eventually work in our favour.”

Image courtesy of MCFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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