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Pellegrini: Otamendi to be assessed on Saturday

Nicolas Otamendi will face a fitness test on the eve of the 171st Manchester derby to determine whether or not he can take any part.

Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that the Argentine defender, who was forced off injured in City’s draw with Dynamo Kyiv, received a significant kick on his leg on Tuesday night.

Vincent Kompany is definitely out of the game at the Etihad Stadium and is expected to remain on the sidelines for at least a month.

“Talking with the doctor, I think that Vincent has an injury in the other calf, not the same one as last time,” Pellegrini revealed.

“We’ll see in the way he’ll improve – maybe one month he can be ready. I think he could play again this season.

“It’s a new injury in the other calf. It’s high behind the knee, similar to the one that Kolarov had a month ago and he took three weeks to a month to recover so we’ll see.

“it’s important to see how he’ll improve in the first weeks. The first thing that we think is that within a month he can recover.

“We’ll see with Otamendi tomorrow – Nico is running but it’s a risk if he takes another kick on the same leg. We’ll assess him on Saturday.

 “Samir Nasri started working again with the whole squad yesterday. We hope that in the international break the three of them, Delph, Nasri and De Bruyne will play in a friendly with the u21s.”

The manager’s press conference followed hot on the heels of the quarter final draw for the UEFA Champions League.

Pellegrini had his say on his side being paired with PSG, describing it as “a difficult draw”.

He told journalists “It’s always difficult when you’re in the last eight with the best teams in Europe.

“You never know what’s an easy draw when you’re with the eight best teams on the continent. Maybe one team has less names than another team but they’re at this stage so they deserve to be there because they eliminated other teams.

“It’s better to be away first – I prefer always to finish at home so you know always what you must do in your home stadium.

“In my opinion, Barcelona is the team that always make the difference but all the other teams are all the same.”

United lie four points behind City in the Premier League table and will be aiming to close the gap on their local rivals with a first victory at the Etihad since 2012/13.

However, Pellergini prefers to look up the table rather than down it, declaring that his side won’t give up on the title race until it’s mathematically impossible for City to win it.

“In football when you have a mathematical chance you cannot think you cannot do it,” he said.

“It’s a winning mentality – win the next game and then see which team has the most points.

“I think that a derby is always dangerous regardless of the position of both teams – if it’s in the Premier League it’s doubly dangerous.

 “It’s hard because they have good players – United have a very good squad, it doesn’t matter which play or in which way they play, they’re always a dangerous team.

“It’s a target [to finish above United] but it’s not the most important thing, the most important thing is to finish first, then you're above all other teams. It’s a special game and I know the players treat it that way for the fans.

“If you have 24/48 hours more rest, it’s important – it’s not a decisive thing for the game but you can prepare better. That’s the problem with the Europa League as you play on Thursday – it’s not easy to prepare.”



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