Manuel Pellegrini’s pre-Sunderland presser brought little in the way of good news today. The big story was his announcement that the magician David Silva will be out for “three or four weeks”.
When Silva picked up the knock against Newcastle, City’s medical staff believed it to be minor, but it is worse than anticipated. The only positive is that a two-week international break follows this Sunday’s game, but City’s fixture pile-up is so intense after the break that Silva could miss many games, potentially 6 or so if it’s more of a four-week than three-week injury.
Pellegrini also confirmed that Fernandinho and Nastasic face late fitness tests before Sunderland, but they are have a reasonable chance of playing in an away fixture that City haven’t won since 2008.
Jovetic remains on the sidelines for an undetermined length of time, as does Kompany who Pellegrini still expects back after the break. Belgium physio Lieven Maesschalck has been to Manchester today to give his own assessment of the captain’s thigh problem.
One player City will desperately want to keep fit as other stars struggle for fitness is Sergio Aguero. The outstanding Aguero, who has been in Ballon d’Or form of late, was today named Barclays Premier League Player of the Month.
Aguero is the first City player since Silva in September 2011 to win this award, and fully deserves his award.
The Daily Mirror tonight has some potentially controversial quotes from Dzeko, who again seems unhappy at his lack of game time.
Dzeko, who has praised Pellegrini repeatedly before now, appears frustrated by his lack of game time after Negredo snatched a starting spot from him. Lost in translation? Maybe not this time.
We can verify these quotes as legitimate and given to the press pack – not just the Mirror but The Times and others. Here are the parts that may raise a few eyebrows in City’s corridors of power:
“But I need to play more than I am. I’ve only started four games in the Premier League. But if you put me in there for 90 minutes, everything is possible.”
“The first game of the season I played well, I just didn’t score. The second game I scored, then the manager changed me. I don’t know why.”
“Then in the third game he changed me at half-time. Again, I don’t know why. The team played badly in the first-half, for sure, but it’s always on the strikers if it doesn’t go well.”
“So I think I could definitely have played more than I have done. It’s difficult because you don’t have a run of games, then you come into the team after maybe four games and sometimes you want to do well, but you can’t do it.”
“For three games in the Premier League I didn’t play at all. That never happened last season. I didn’t go three games without any minutes.”
“There’s Champions League and Capital One Cup also, but that’s not enough for me.”
“It’s important to hear from the manager when you’re not playing. Why are you not playing? What do you have to do better to play? So we’re talking about that.”
“For every striker it’s important to play 90 minutes, not 45, then 50, then maybe 15, you know? But I’m still here and I still have 18 months left on my contract. But you never know what can happen in the future.”
“It’s competitive but when we play together or when Negredo or Aguero play instead of me, then I wish them the best.”
“When we play together and I see one of them free to score a goal, I’ll always pass to him. It’s not like ‘I don’t want them to score’. Of course there’s competition and everyone wants to play, but we’re team-mates.”
The Premier League’s Dubious Goals Committee decided today that there were not one but TWO own goals in City’s 7-0 massacre of Norwich last weekend.
Nastasic thought he had bagged his first goal for City against Norwich, but despite his header being on target before taking a small deflection off Russell Martin, the committee has ruled it to be an own goal so Nasty’s goal counter is reset to 0.
Five City academy players were in the England U16s matchday squad that faced Northern Ireland U16s tonight in the Victory Shield, all members of a very promising generation.
Cameron McCulloch (GK), Elan Assiana (DF) and Diallo Sadou (MF) started, while Joshua Murray (DF) and Lukas Nmecha (FW) came on in the second half.
Murray replaced the impressive Assiana at half-time, but was on the wrong end of a horrific two-footed tackle from an Irish player. A long stoppage led to Murray being stretchered off with a suspected broken leg.
Our thoughts go out to Josh and his family, hopefully he can recover and come back stronger than ever!