City boss keeps faith with Pantilimon

09 November 2013 01:46

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will keep 'his trust' with goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon for their trip to Sunderland on Sunday.

Pellegrini controversially dropped number one Joe Hart last weekend for their comprehensive win over Norwich after a number of costly errors this season and replaced him with the Romanian.

Pantilimon retained his place for their midweek Champions League win over CSKA Moscow and looks set to remain in goal for the visit to the Stadium of Light.

"I'm not thinking about when Joe comes back," said the Chilean manager." I think about this moment and what the best for us is at this moment. The trust is with Pantilimon and we continue trusting in Joe and we will see when he comes back."

City's form away from home is the reason they are six points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal heading into this weekend.

They have lost at Cardiff, Aston Villa and Chelsea as well as dropping points at Stoke. They head to a ground on Sunday where they have not won since 2008.

But Pellegrini has urged his side to improve their away form and capitalise on a possible chance to close the gap on Arsenal with the Gunners in Manchester to face City's rivals United.

"I know all the players know it already about not being complacent," he said. "We cannot continue losing points away - that is very important for us.

"We are six points from Arsenal. They play Manchester United, it's a difficult game for both of them. It is the moment for us to recover points, two or three points. We will see what happens."

City will be without Vincent Kompany who continues to struggle with a thigh problem while Stevan Jovetic and David Silva are both ruled out.

Silva came off with a calf problem during Tuesday's win over CSKA Moscow and could be out of action for up to four weeks.

After hammering Norwich last weekend 7-0 and a convincing 5-2 win in the Champions League over the Russian side, Sunderland fans will not take their good record against City at home as any comfort.

The Black Cats sit second from bottom of the Premier League with just a solitary win.

But Wes Brown has been backed to help lead Sunderland's fight against relegation - if he can steer clear of the treatment room.

The veteran former England defender is set to start his first Premier League game for almost two years after battling back from a career-threatening knee injury.

Brown has featured in the last two games, coming on as substitute in the defeat at Hull City, before setting up one of the goals as he started the 2-1 midweek League Cup win over Southampton.

The 34-year-old is ready to take his place at the heart of defence alongside John O'Shea, as the former Manchester United team-mates bid to help halt City's recent run of good form.

O'Shea is looking forward to partnering Brown on a long-term basis, if his close friend can finally maintain his fitness in what's been an injury-plagued two-and-a-half years at the Stadium of Light since moving from Old Trafford in 2011.

The Sunderland skipper said: "Wes has worked very hard to get back and the mental toughness he's shown to overcome the set-backs along the way shouldn't be under-estimated.

"I've known him for years and I know that if he can stay fit and be available to us regularly, he'll be a major asset as we try to climb the table and progress in the cup."

Sunderland are without banned duo Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena, who both serve the second of three-match suspensions for earning red cards in the 1-0 reverse at Hull.

Source: AFP

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