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Pellegrini tells City to tighten up

01 Oct 2013 14:01:55

Pellegrini tells City to tighten up

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has told his team they cannot repeat their recent defensive woes against Bayern Munich if they are to make progress in the Champions League.

City lost 3-2 in the Premier League to unfancied Aston Villa on Saturday just weeks after going down by the same scoreline against English top-flight newcomers Cardiff.

Similar lapses are sure to be punished by Bayern, the reigning Champions League and Bundesliga champions, who have won eight and drawn one of their matches in the league and in Europe this season, scoring 21 goals in the process.

City, after failing to qualify for the knock-out phase in their opening two Champions League campaigns, began their involvement in this season's edition of European club football's elite competition with a 3-0 win over Viktoria Pilsen in the Czech Republic.

But Pellegrini indicated a Bayern side managed by Pep Guardiola, the former Barcelona boss, would pose a different threat at Eastlands on Wednesday.

"We need to play 90 minutes in the best way knowing every mistake or error we can concede a goal," Pellegrini told a news conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

"It's very important to concentrate for the 90 minutes," the Chilean added. "For me it was very important to win the first three points against Viktoria Pilsen.

"The second thing is to try to win our points at home and Bayern is a very strong team but we're also in a good moment and hopefully we can get the three points here."

Spain winger David Silva has not featured since the 2-0 win over Hull in August due to a thigh problem but came through training on Tuesday and is available to face Bayern.

Pellegrini has never managed a win against Guardiola in eight attempts during his time as manager of Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga.

But he played down talk of a rivalry by saying: "It's always about the players. I don't play against Guradiola, it's the players.

"Pep is a great manager and he's at a great club also. I know it's not easy for him to improve on what Bayern did last year (season).

"But in some way he will give Bayern the characteristics of the teams he managed, that he gave to Barcelona in his four years."

Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko came up against Bayern during his time at Wolfsburg, before joining City in January 2011.

Dzeko believes City have been improved considerably by the attacking additions of Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic.

And the forward feels that City offer a different proposition to the team that twice failed to get out of the group stage.

"We don't have to think about the last two years because it's done," Dzeko said. "We started this season in the CL very well with the win and that's important for the confidence.

"Now we're at home against the big rival in the group and we want to beat them and stay in the first position.

"We've played a few years together and we have four new players and they've improved the squad and we're definitely better this year than last year."

Dzeko looked set to leave City before former manager Roberto Mancini was sacked in May.

Pellegrini, on his arrival, made it clear he intended to keep Dzeko and make the forward a key part of his plans.

The 27-year-old has responded with four goals already this season and said he was benefiting from a better relationship with his current manager than that he enjoyed with Mancini.

"I think my form is a tribute to the new coach," Dzeko explained. "The manager is very important, to a player's form and I have noticed a difference.

"I think for every player it is important he knows the manager believes in him, and it is important he has the confidence of the manager. That helps you to find the best form."


AFP

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