Pellegrini warns City to respect Cardiff

24 August 2013 12:17

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned his side not to underestimate new-boys Cardiff in their Premier League clash on Sunday.

City produced a stylish 4-0 victory over Newcastle in Pellegrini's first competitive match in charge last weekend, while Cardiff suffered a losing start on their return to the top flight at West Ham.

But former Malaga coach Pellegrini is determined to ensure his players do not take victory for granted against the Welsh side, who will be playing their first game at home in the top flight for half a century.

"We will not underestimate them because they are new to the division," he said.

"They will be very tough opponents on their own pitch. We know we have to play at our best to take three points but we will be focused and prepared for the challenge."

City defender Joleon Lescott is also wary of how tough a trip to Cardiff can be having played with his former club Wolves in south Wales.

"I've played there before with Wolves and I know how intense the atmosphere can be," he said.

"I'm sure Craig Bellamy will be stirring it up to show them how important the game is.

"If we do it the right way we are confident we can come away with three points."

Lescott will not be playing alongside defender Vincent Kompany after the Belgium international suffered a groin injury against Newcastle and could be out for up to a month.

However, Matija Nastasic has resumed first-team training after suffering an ankle problem in July's Asia Trophy and Pellegrini is hopeful the Serbian defender will be fit to face Cardiff.

"It is a blow to lose our captain so early in the season but there is nothing we can do about it," said Pellegrini.

"He is a very important player for us but we are hopeful Matija Nastasic could be available for Cardiff. It is too early to say but we will see.

"Micah Richards is also improving and he could be available for next weekend, but again, we will wait and see how he progresses.

"I'm aware of course that Micah can also play in central defence so we have options while Vincent is recovering."

Meanwhile, Cardiff boss Malky Mackay has called on his club's fans to raise the roof in an attempt to make it an intimidating atmosphere for City and every other team that visits south Wales.

"We've got to make sure that any team that comes down to our stadium knows it's going to be a tough ask for them," said Mackay.

"I don't doubt the support our fans will give us this season and the ferocity of their support and passion for our club.

"I'm very proud of the fact that we've got the Premier League kicking off in our home stadium and for everyone at Cardiff and associated with the club.

"We're very proud that we're here and I've got no doubt that our fans will be passionate and supportive of everything we do this season.

"The way our stadium is will lend itself to noise like it did last season. We've got top, top teams coming to play us this season and it'll be a real test for us but we're relishing that challenge."

Mackay has a fully fit squad to choose from and defender Andrew Taylor is also available after missing their opening defeat to West Ham because of suspension.

Source: AFP

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