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Pellegrini: Fernando ready to return

Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that only Samir Nasri is unavailable for the trip to Aston Villa.

The manager told the press ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash in Birmingham that the Frenchman is the only name on the injury list, while Fernando is ready to return to action after his spell on the sidelines.

“We have just one player injured, that is Samir Nasri, all other players in the squad are fit,” declared the Chilean. “Both Fernando and Nastasic are ok.”

Although City played well and dominated proceedings at Villa Park last year, the Champions went down 3-2 to Paul Lambert’s men.

This time, Pellegrini admitted he is expecting a tough test against the Villans, but believes City have the personnel and talent to collect all three points and extend an impressive run of away form that has seen his side lose just one of their last 15 league encounters on the road.

“Aston Villa started very well, maybe in the last two games they are not doing so well, but I am sure that if they play as they did before than it will be a very difficult game," he said. 

“I remember that [last year against Aston Villa] was a game that we played very well but it was similar to what happened against Cardiff. We lost both games 3-2.

“After that we improved a lot playing away and I hope playing those games last season will be good experience, so tomorrow we can play with 100% concentration and intensity that you need to win those games.

“Aston Villa have special players and they are normally a team that puts pressure on us for 90 minutes.  But we have important players too so we can react to it, try to work in attack as we always do, and concentrate more on defending because we need a clean sheet. In the last three games we conceded five goals which is too much for me.”

Attention continues to centre on Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, but Manuel is confident that his side does not rely on just one man, and that Aguero is fully fit and will continue to prove his attacking credentials.

Said the manager: “When we play well the most important players on the team play well, and when we play badly the whole team badly. I don’t think this team depends on one player.

“I think Sergio is 100%, maybe the same as Yaya. I don’t think you should criticise one player. Sergio has scored five goals at the moment, we know he is such a good player so he can score 10 goals, but I don’t think he is in a bad moment or not 100%. I am sure he will continue to show that this week.”

Ahead of the international break, City will be aiming to sign off on a high and put pressure on league leaders Chelsea.

While Pellegrini admitted a five point gap at this stage isn’t ideal, he was quick to point out it is early days – and the Champions are actually one point better off now than at this stage last year.  

The boss declared: “We are just starting in the league, and it is not good to be five points behind Chelsea. But at the moment we have one more point than this time last year, when Arsenal were six points ahead of us.  

“The important thing is to continue playing in the way we did against Hull.”

The Chilean fielded more questions concerning the midweek draw in the Champions League, but he explained he would address the campaign as a whole in December at the conclusion of the group stage.

Said Pellegrini: “We didn’t play well and we played against a good team in a very good moment. They have won five games in Serie A.  

“We couldn’t beat them and we made some important mistakes but we are just starting in the group and it is not the moment to talk about how we are doing in the Champions League.

“It’s the same as last year when we played very badly against Bayern at home, but after that we won five games and finished with 15 points. The same things that you are asking now are the same questions as last year.

“When we finish in December we can analyse it and I will answer all questions about the Champions League.”

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