Pellegrini revolution key to City success says Kolarov

04 April 2014 01:16

Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov believes the attacking philosophy adopted by manager Manuel Pellegrini has also helped his side become tighter at the back ahead of their Premier League clash with Southampton on Saturday.

City are the second most prolific team in the Premier League with 80 goals this season with only leaders Liverpool (88) having found the net more often.

Pellegrini's title-chasers have also conceded just 28 goals which gives them the second meanest defence in the division behind Chelsea (24) and as a result their goal difference of 52 is the best overall.

Serbia international Kolarov believes defending, particularly in the full-back areas, has become easier because of the attacking intent shown by City, who trail leaders Liverpool by four points but remain favourites to win the title with two games in hand.

"As a full-back I have to think of defending," said Kolarov. "But if you have a winger against you for example, it is difficult for him if you are always attacking, because he has to follow you.

"I haven't had a lot of problems defensively. There are good players round, but if you are always attacking and running, he has to follow you and then he doesn't have a lot of power to attack you.

"I have also been creating chances, and personally feel I have been having a good season - I hope it can finish this way."

Kolarov was second-choice for the left-back position behind Gael Clichy under previous manager Roberto Mancini, but has featured more than the France international this season.

The 28-year-old has made 37 appearances so far, which equalled his best tally for City set in his debut campaign of 2010-11, even though he admitted he almost left the club last year.

"Last season, because I didn't play a lot, I was thinking maybe it was a good thing for me to move," Kolarov added.

"I had a couple of opportunities but in the end I refused everything because I didn't want to leave here when I hadn't shown people what I could do.

"Now I have this opportunity and have shown what I can do, so for me personally this is a victory."

City are set to have Sergio Aguero available as they look to get their title bid back on course against Southampton after a 1-1 draw at Arsenal last time out.

The Argentina forward has been out for three weeks with a hamstring injury he sustained in City's Champions League exit to Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

But Aguero has stepped his return in training this week and is set to be involved when the Saints visit the Etihad Stadium.

Pellegrini is likely to name Aguero on the bench in order to ease him back from the injury and ensure he is available for the run-in, particularly his side's top-of-the-table clash with Liverpool next Sunday.

City otherwise have virtually a clean bill of health with defenders Micah Richards and Matija Nastasic (both knee) the only other injury concerns.

Yet Southampton will not lack confidence, despite City's intimidating home record.

Mauricio Pochettino, the Saints manager, is unbeaten in two games against City since arriving in England in the second half of last season.

And he maintains his side will not lack motivation despite apparently having little to play for in terms of league position.

"We have our brand of pressure to be honest," he said.

"We have the pressure to win and that's always our focus because we're very demanding and we're very ambitious and that's what we want, we always want to win.

"We know that Manchester City will also have their own pressure because they want to carry on being close to the top of the table, so both teams are going to have an added pressure I think."

Source: AFP