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First Team News

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Pellegrini reserves special praise for Garcia and Iheanacho

Manuel Pellegrini played down the importance of beating AS Roma on penalties following a 2-2 draw in City’s ICC 2015 opener in Melbourne.

At this stage of pre-season, the Chilean is more interested in performance and fitness levels but he did reveal his delight with the performances of two of his young charges.

Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Spanish playmaker Manu Garcia were both personally name checked by the 61-year old as two of the shining lights in an entertaining game at the iconic MCG.

“I think that the big positive was to see two young players like Manu Garcia and Kelechi – they both really had very good performances,” Pellegrini said.

“After that, it was a good game for both teams. You are not playing to win the game, you are not making the substitutions of players who are playing bad or well, you are trying to give an average amount of minutes to all the players.

“Overall, I am very happy in the style we played with.”

Raheem Sterling stole the headlines by scoring 2 minutes and 17 seconds into his first City start.

Pellegrini was pleased with what he saw from the England winger and forecasted that he would get even better once he got used to the team’s style.

“For a striker it’s important to score, especially as he scored so early,” Pellegrini said.

“He just played 45 minutes as he’s only worked a few days. He demonstrates why he’s here, not only as player now but I think he will improve a lot in the future, playing with Yaya, Silva and Aguero.

“We bought him because he has a big future – he has the speed that we don’t have so we have a different way of playing. He’s the player we need in our team.

Finally, the manager answered questions on the absence of Wilfried Bony from the tour party, revealing the Ivorian striker has a physical problem which is not thought to be too serious.

He declared: “Bony is in Manchester at the moment – he has some physical problem from his holidays so I think it’s better for him to stay in Manchester and not lose the time coming back.

“The doctor can say more – I don’t think it’s too serious but he can’t work at the same level as the rest of the squad.”

Pellegrini’s Roma counterpart Rudi Garcia was full of praise for City, reserving special exultations for David Silva.

He told journalists: “When you don’t defend well as a team against players with the talent Silva has, you are in trouble. Second half we were better, the statistics were better for us.

“We made an individual mistake in the second half and we had to make up for it but what pleased me most was that we came back twice, showing great character.

“City are going to start their season two weeks before us so they are ahead of us in their preparations.”

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