Having beaten Barcelona on Tuesday with an impressive display in the Champions League, City face Middlesbrough this weekend – and their former Blues striker has made a frank admission
Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo, who played for City in the 2013-14 season and helped the Blues to a league-and-cup double, has told the Sun he misses the Etihad Stadium.
Negredo enjoyed a blistering start to life at City, scoring 23 goals in his first six months at the club – but after failing to score from January onwards, he moved to Valencia, before joining Boro this summer.
He said: “I started the season well and the fans saw what I could do when I was 100 per cent fit.
“But from February I suffered from a shoulder injury which I never really recovered from.
“When you have a niggling injury like that, it stops you showing your best form. And I don’t feel I ever regained the manager’s trust.
“So unfortunately things didn’t turn out how I wanted them to.
“I do think I made a mistake to go back to Spain when I was doing things well in the Premier League.
“But thankfully now I’ve been given the chance to come back and start this other chapter here in England again.”
Meanwhile, Simon Bajkowski writing in the Manchester Evening News believes City will have to be at their best going forward if they are to break down a stubborn Boro side.
“No set of supporters in the Premier League has seen fewer goals this season than those following Karanka and his team,” Bajkowski writes.
“With just nine goals for and eleven against in ten games, nearly every encounter has been closely fought. A draw at Arsenal and last week's win over Bournemouth have lifted Boro away from the relegation places and they will be keen to build on that momentum to stay there.
“A number of the City coaching staff should know Victor Valdes's strengths and weaknesses from their time together at Barcelona, although the goalkeeper may just remember a thing or two about how a Guardiola team sets up.
“Just as well City are the league's top scorers!”
And finally, City’s switch to three at the back for recent games with Everton and Southampton caused much discussion – but Richard Jolly, writing in the National, believes it’s a trend sweeping the Premier League.
“On Saturday, the majority of the Premier League’s home teams could line up with three central defenders,” Jolly writes. “Certain to do so are Chelsea and West Ham United, clubs who have turned their seasons around by switching from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-2-1. Manchester City represent the wild card. Even when Pep Guardiola fields four defenders, there are often only three at the back. In their last two home league games, City have played 3-2-4-1.
“The Catalan is more cavalier. He uses wingers where Antonio Conte and Slaven Bilic have wingbacks. His is a more proactive approach. If he can win the ball back higher up the field, he argued last week, he can stop attacks at source. He experimented out of ambition, his Chelsea and West Ham counterparts out of necessity. They patched up faulty defences and, in Bilic’s case, addressed the problem of failing full-backs, by adopting a policy of safety in numbers: instead of two centre-backs, three.”