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What the Media Says

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Has Kelechi earned a start at the Bernabeu?

Plenty of reaction to yesterday’s disappointing performance against Southampton plus snippets on upcoming games against Real Madrid and Arsenal make up the bulk of this morning’s media round-up.

We’ll kick off with Manchester Evening News, who suggest in-form Kelechi Iheanacho should win selection for the Champions League second leg on Wednesday following his brace against the Saints.

They write: “Surely the debate is over. With David Silva out injured and Yaya Toure a doubt, Iheanacho must have done enough to convince Manuel Pellegrini to hand him a start against Real Madrid.

“On a woeful day for Manchester City on the south coast, he was their only positive. His first goal was clinical, his second a peach.

“If it’s a straight choice between him and Raheem Sterling - there’s only one winner.”

Much will surely depend on the formation the boss chooses for the Bernabeu – we’ll know more in a couple of days’ time!

Staying with the La Liga giants, World Soccer are one of a number of outlets who report Cristiano Ronaldo had a light training session with Madrid on Sunday evening.

The prolific Portuguese striker missed the first leg and it seems he could be winning his battle to return for the second clash.

“Real Madrid’s hopes of Cristiano Ronaldo being fit for their Champions League semi-final, second leg with Manchester City on Wednesday were boosted as the Portuguese returned to training on Sunday,” they write.

“Ronaldo has missed Real’s last three games due to a thigh injury, but may be risked against City with the tie finely balanced at 0-0.

‘Cristiano Ronaldo worked with the group for the first half of the session, before training individually out on the pitch during the second half,’ Madrid said in a statement.”

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail highlight Sky Sports’ pundit Graeme Souness’ comments after City’s 4-2 loss at St Mary’s.

Never one to hold back, Souness let rip post-match with his verdict on the 90 minutes, saying: “'They've not been at it enough times this year, even the fringe players. You think of the stats - 60 per cent possession away from home, you think they must have had a good day.

'They did between the two boxes, the two business ends. When they got into those two areas there was no urgency, no desire and no aggression and for a team to win as easily as that, having 40 per cent of the ball, I think shows something is not right.

'You know if you have that much ball and you defend properly you're always in with a chance.

'They just didn't do anything right today, they played it like a five-a-side that didn't really matter and that is alarming.

'That's why City have not won the league this year. I still believe they have the best group but too many times they've not shown the correct attitude, the desire has not been there and it leaves the door open for Manchester United.'”

Ouch!

That said, Manuel Pellegrini was less than impressed with his troops’ display so let’s confine that game to history from hereon in.

Finally, the Blues will turn their attention back to finishing in the top four next weekend when Arsenal visit the Etihad.

It’s likely that the winner – if there is one – will go on to finish third, while the loser – if there is one – will face a fight to claim fourth spot and the Daily Mail suggest the Gunners see this as a season-defining game.

They report:  “Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal has said that his side’s game away to Manchester City next weekend will be like a cup final.

“The Gunners beat Norwich City 1-0 yesterday to edge closer to securing Champions League qualification and it seems likely that the winners of the game at the Etihad Stadium will finish third in the Premier League.

“Securing automatic qualification for Europe’s elite club competition would be of great benefit to Arsenal as it would mean avoiding having to play a qualifier in the early stages of next season.

“Monreal told the club’s official website: ‘The Man City game is like a final. The side that wins the match is going to finish third because I don’t think Tottenham are going to lose their three matches.

‘So it’s a very important game. We have to take advantage of the fact they are in the Champions League semi-final and have to play a tough game against Real Madrid. We can have more rest and we hope to win.’”

Looks like the Blues could be in for three cup finals in the next few weeks – hopefully four if things go well on Wednesday evening…

Happy Bank Holiday.



Match Report

Saints v City match report