Then, in midweek, Pellegrini’s successful deployment of three central midfielders in Fernando, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure worked superbly as they claimed an impressive 3-1 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. This was hailed as a sign of growing maturity in Europe after past seasons of struggle against the continent’s elite. Pellegrini, however, played down his input, claiming some of the changes have been enforced by injuries. The 62-year-old said: “I don’t agree with that. We have managed all the season to play without important players, and we are always working in a different way with different strikers, without strikers, with one striker, with two strikers or with one midfielder. A lot of changes that depend on the characteristics of the players we have available. “This season is exactly the same as the last two seasons and if you ask me the first season was the best one – we scored (nearly) 160 goals (158). “When you win it is all perfect. When you lose, maybe people talk about (things like) why Kevin De Bruyne didn’t play.” City’s trip to Villa Park comes too soon for playmaker David Silva, who remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Pellegrini has expressed hope the Spaniard, along with Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta, will be fit after the upcoming international break. Manuel Pellegrini has welcomed Remi Garde to the Premier League but hopes the new manager effect at Aston Villa takes a week to kick in. Press Association Pellegrini takes his Manchester City side to Villa Park on Sunday to take on the struggling side Frenchman Garde took charge of earlier in the week. With Villa two points adrift at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League and City top heading into the weekend’s fixtures, form would suggest Pellegrini has little to worry about. But the Chilean does not see it that way, wary of the bounce Garde could spark after shaking things up in training this week. “I am expecting him to delay one week more,” said Pellegrini, jokingly, when asked about Garde’s likely impact. “No, always when you have a new manager you have some reaction. “It is very difficult for me to say how they will approach it. It depends on the mentality of the new manager, it depends on a lot of things. “The important thing is we must expect that we have have a strong and difficult team in front of us.” Pellegrini met Garde briefly, just as the Frenchman was embarking on his managerial career with Lyon as he visited former Arsenal team-mate Patrick Vieira, now City’s head of elite development, at the club’s training base. “He was here in Carrington two years ago,” he said. “He is a friend of Patrick Vieira’s and he wanted to talk about football and working. “He is a young and experienced manager, having been at an important club like Lyon. I am sure and I hope he will have a very good performance – after our game with Aston Villa.” Pellegrini has earned plaudits for some of his tactical decisions in recent weeks. During the goalless derby draw at Manchester United a fortnight ago, Pellegrini opted for caution in the closing stages to secure a point after realising United had nullified his usual attacking game. In previous seasons he has been criticised for sticking stubbornly to his default attacking approach.
Football connoisseurs who have been thronging the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City to witness the best of women soccer in the last one week when the Nigerian Womenâ€™s Premier League Super 4 began are gearing up for the final match of the competition featuring Nasarawa Amazons and Delta Queens friday.Prior to the kick off of the competition, most followers of the Nigerian women game picked Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens as the teams to beat owing to their pedigree in the game. But they have been pleasantly surprised by the superlative performances of the Amazons from Nasarawa and Delta Queens who have defied all odds to make the final.Now, the die is cast! It is time for the best team in the NWPL to emerge and as usual, the fans are not agreed on the likely winner of the match.But one thing is common in the analysis by the pundits: Anybody, who comes to the stadium for the final game today will be treated to a world-class match in a convivial atmosphere set by the Edo State government.Nasarawa have seven points, while Delta have five points to make the final, while Bayelsa and Rivers Angels were left to fight for the third place match, which held yesterday.According to NWFL Chairperson, Aisha Falode, Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Silas Agera, Asisat Oshoala, who is a product of Robo FC, Edo State government officials and members of the executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will grace the occasion.â€œThere will be an exhibition match between Robo FC and Edo Queens before the final game,â€ stressed Falode who also doubles as NFF board member.Also speaking on the game, Edo FA Chairman, Frank Ilaboya, assures fans of an entertaining evening inside the stadium and its surroundings.â€œWe have rolled out the drums to ensure that all football fans at the stadium get the best of Edo State hospitality.â€œBefore the competition started, the state government gave the stadium a facelift in line with Governor Godwin Obasekiâ€™s promise to make the state the sports hub of the country. So, we are ready to welcome all the fans to the final match,â€ Ilaboya noted with enthusiasm.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram