Manuel Pellegrini has hailed the Manchester derby as a special game ahead of this weekend’s trip to Old Trafford.
City will be missing key men Sergio Aguero and David Silva ahead of the crunch clash, as they go in search of their 50th competitive win in the Manchester derby.
Pellegrini has highlighted how meaningful the game is to the city of Manchester as a whole, but does not believe it is a game that will decide the title with the neighbours in first and third and separated by just two points, nine fixtures into the 38-game top-flight season.
“I think for the city it is always a special game,” the Chilean said.
“It’s very important for both fans to try to win and to try to demonstrate who is the best in the city and of course we are involved in similar situations.
“It’s a match of six points because you are playing the team that is behind you, but it will not be a game to decide the title.”
Manchester City have a great record in recent Manchester derbies, having won six of the last eight in the league, which is as many wins as they managed in the previous 42 meetings.
However they have lost half of their last 10 away games in the league, winning the other five.
Alongside Aguero and Silva, Samir Nasri, Fabian Delph & Gaël Clichy have also been ruled out of the derby.
Manchester City’s training did have some notable guests however, as The President of the People’s Republic of China, President Xi Jinping watched some of Friday’s training session alongside Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his visit to the City Football Academy.
Pellegrini will be hoping his side are inspired by the visit, but he has a series of tactical conundrums ahead of the clash, including whether to recall captain Vincent Kompany and how to structure his sides attacking formation.
“I need to choose a starting 11 every week that I think best for that game. The other players must wait, it’s exactly same for all the players in the squad,” Pellegrini said.
“We can play in different ways and we can win. Kevin De Bruyne is not a striker but he could play as a striker if we need him to,
“It’s crucial to play with the best players for the moment. Football is moments – now, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi are doing well.”
Image courtesy of MCFC via YouTube, with thanks.