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First Team News

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Pellegrini: No one favourites after stalemate

Manuel Pellegrini asserts City have what it takes to reach the Champions League final.

The Blues go into the second leg at the Bernabeu level following a tightly-contested goalless stalemate at the Etihad.

Although Real were missing star Cristiano Ronaldo from their starting XI, the Chilean dismissed the suggestion his side should have taken more from the game and insists City can earn a positive result in Madrid.

"I don't think Real's quality is only with Ronaldo," he reflected. "I think that was a very close game. We tried from the beginning to win - we pressed high - but we were not very creative.

"We were without Silva for much of the game which was a blow for us.

"I don’t think Real are favourites to progress. We have the same options. They have the advantage of playing away first - they tried to manage the pace of the game - but we play the same way away as at home and we came away from Monchengladbach, Sevilla and PSG with good results."

On a disappointing note, the Chilean also confirmed Silva will miss the second leg with the hamstring injury which saw him limp off just before half time.

There was brighter news as Joe Hart shone once again in the Champions League. The shot-stopper made two excellent saves to deny Casemiro and Pepe to prevent Real from netting an away goal.

As a result, England's number one earned high praise from his manager.

"His saves were very important," Pellegrini declared: "Joe didn’t have much work for the whole game but he is a good keeper and he made a very good double save before the one with Pepe."

The Blues' boss added his side will now switch their focus back to domestic matters with Sunday's vital trip to Southampton.

"The players believe in what we are doing," he stated. "Before we go to Madrid, we must continue in the Premier League against a difficult team.

"Unfortunately, we will have one day less to prepare for Wednesday's game but we trust in what we can do and we will give our all."

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Nicolas Otamendi in a hat

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