Ten changes but the same brand of devastating, attacking football – long may it continue, said Manuel Pellegrini after City’s latest demolition job.
Although the Chilean shuffled his pack extensively, City swept Wigan Athletic aside 5-0 with the same brutal efficiency they showed against Manchester United on Sunday.
First goals for new boys Stevan Jovetic and Jesus Navas pleased the 60-year old but what really delighted Pellegrini more than anything was the collective understanding which clearly extends far beyond the XI who started the derby.
“I spoke with the players before this game, telling them that we must always try and play in the same way as we did on Sunday,” Manuel said in the post-match press conference.
“We can change names but, for me, it was important to see today the same team we saw on Sunday – the same philosophy, the same intensity and of course, scoring 12 goals in a week is very important.
“It’s important for Stevan to score and play well, he wasn’t playing because he had some physical problems at the start of the season but for the last two weeks he’s been working hard.
“I’m sure he’s going to be an important player for us. He was very good in the second half, he moved the ball very well – I’m pleased.”
...Pellegrini on Jovetic...
Yaya Toure made a second half cameo from the bench and proved that lightning can strike thrice with the latest in his collection of stunning free-kicks.
It was an almost mirror image of his goals against Newcastle and Hull and Pellegrini revealed that the Ivorian has been staying back after training to practice the skill.
“Yaya is an excellent player – if he adds goals from free-kicks and in open play like last Sunday, I think it’s important for us,” the City boss declared.
“A player can always improve more and Yaya is certainly trying to.
...Pellegrini on Yaya...
“We are always practicing, Yaya stays normally after our daily work to practice free-kicks. He’s in a good moment – it’s not normal to always score with free-kicks.
“He’s a very important player for the team – he and all of the players are playing with trust in each other.”
Pellegrini also took time to give an injury update on David Silva and to praise Micah Richards after the defender completed his first 90 minutes since coming back from a hamstring injury.
“It was not easy for Micah because he hasn’t played since Bayern Munich in pre-season, it’s a long time but I think he did really well because it’s not easy to be out for so long,” Pellegrini stated.
“This match was very important for him and for Clichy who both came back. It was a useful match for the team.
“We’ll see if David [Silva] is fit in the next day. The Doctor understands better than me what happened – I think maybe for next Saturday I don’t think he can play but maybe for next Wednesday against Bayern, he could be fit.”
Wigan also made a host of changes to their line-up for this Capital One Cup clash and their manager Owen Coyle was philosophical in defeat.
“We made nine changes but bearing in mind where we are, any game we’re in, we want to be competitive and win,” Coyle reflected.
“We worked ever so hard – this is one of the elite clubs in world football we were facing.
“Their team was probably worth about £200m, we came through tonight without injuries and the younger players have a great experience, playing against world class players.
“The fourth and fifth goals were really soft from our perspective but, as I say, I’m just pleased we came through without injury.”