Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Stoke here is a round up of the pre-match talk. Manuel Pellegrini shares the City perspective whilst Mark Hughes and Stephen Ireland talk up Stoke City’s chances. See what they have to say below:
There are no new injuries, the squad is in good shape except for Micah Richards, David Silva, Gael Clichy, Vincent Kompany who will miss this game, Clichy has a small injury and will miss the game. Kompany is OK but it’s a risk for him to play this match and then maybe on Tuesday – two or three more days and he should be 100%.
It’s a big test for all of the big clubs, all of them are playing the Champions League and Europa League – we have seven games in 21 days. It’s the same thing October, November, December – that’s why we have 23, 24 top-class players – we will try to do our best performance in every game we play.
I know all I need to know about Stoke City, I’ve watched all the three games, have all of the information on their different ways. They’re a very good team at home, they have a good approach in the box – like every other game, we’ll have to do very well if we want to win.
After we finish each game we’ll talk to all the players, some played two for their international squad, some didn’t play – we’ll see who plays in Plzen.
It’s a big test, but we are playing well and are encouraged by what we have seen. You know at some point you are going to be facing one of the top teams in Europe. It will also be a good test of where we feel we are and where we can get to.
The longer time has gone on, I think they look back and realise I did a decent job. There was a change of ownership, which wasn’t easy. Also, the circumstances when I went were different to what they were portrayed to me. I don’t hold any resentment about that. The fact was I drew too many games and gave them the opportunity to go in a different direction. I think they would have done it sooner, but I didn’t give them the opportunity because we won our first five games that season.
I’m fit and raring to go. I don’t want to be eased in and I don’t want to have to take my time; I just want to get straight in there as fast as I can. I want to participate in whatever way I can, whether that be for the full 90 minutes or whether it be coming off the bench for the final five minutes. Whatever time I get I will give it everything I have. It’s been a long time in the waiting for me so I want to get going and show everyone what I am capable of.
We (Ireland and Hughes) had a great relationship when I was at City and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work again with him and his staff, Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki, because they did so much for my career first time around. They are the best coaching staff that I have ever had, and I always tell people that. They inspire me, they make me feel good and I am finding myself smiling again now, which hasn’t been the case for a long time.
Compiled by Robert Toole