Manuel Pellegrini believes City can still win Champions League
Manager in confident mood prior to must-win home clash with CSKA
Manchester City’s Yaya Toure with Pablo Zabaleta during a training session at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Toure has been the subject of racist abuse on Twitter. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
City host CSKA Moscow tonight requiring victory to retain control of their own destiny, with Roma two points ahead in second place.
Pellegrini said: “There are teams that qualify with few points and then after that they won the Champions League. Of course our target is always to try and win the Champions League.
“We must put in our mind that we are able to do it, that we have a good squad. Maybe there are also five or six squads better than our squad or the same level as our squad that also want to do it but with a winning mentality and an ambitious mind, you must always think you can do it. I think we have time to prove it.”
Despite patchy form at the Etihad Stadium where this season City could only draw with Roma, Pellegrini denied the club is unsure on home turf in the competition.
“No, I don’t agree with that conclusion. We have to play three games more,” he said.
“This year, all the games we had to play against big teams, we didn’t lose in one of them. We drew with Chelsea and Arsenal in the league, we beat Tottenham and Man United. We have to finish the qualifying and then we can make all the conclusions and analyse what happened with this team in Champions League.”
The manager said Aleksandar Kolarov will be out for a month due to the injury he suffered in Sunday’s pre-derby warm-up, though Eliaquiam Mangala is available.
Pellegrini said: “Mangala has just stiffness in his thigh so he is in the squad list. Kolarov has an important muscle injury in his calf so he will be at least one month.”
Meanwhile, Yaya Touré has described the racist abuse he was subjected to on Twitter as a “disgrace” and urged officials to take action to stop it occurring in the future.
Greater Manchester police have confirmed they are investigating allegations that Touré was racially abused just hours after reactivating his Twitter account on Monday.
“GMP can confirm we have received a number of complaints regarding racist tweets directed at Manchester City player Yaya Touré on Monday 3 October 2014,” read a police statement. “Officers are currently investigating.”
In response, the Ivory Coast midfielder admitted he had been taken aback by some of the abuse. “For me it’s a disgrace, to be honest,” said Touré. “We need to do something to try to tell people those kinds of behaviour have to stop. I want those people to understand what they’re doing is wrong.
“To have such aggression in sport, I can’t understand that. That’s why I’ve been trying to fight it,” added Touré.
“Football doesn’t have a colour. We’re just people from all over the world trying to enjoy the game. I never see this in rugby, I never see that in tennis or anything else, I don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Touré posted another message on Twitter on Tuesday which made reference to the incident. And the 31-year-old believes that other players may opt not to use social media if the abuse continues.
“For me it’s okay because I have experience but for young lads, who will maybe go on Twitter and find that, first they’ll be afraid, second they’ll close their account,” he said.
Asked if he found the abuse hurtful, Touré added: “To be honest with you, no, because I’ve been attacked like that for many years. I will never stop telling them they are wrong and have to change.”
He later tweeted: “Thanks for all the welcome-back tweets and support. Shame about ignorant minority. StillFocused”.
Manager Pellegrini also insisted that the abuse would not affect his star midfielder.
He said: “No. I think Yaya is an experienced player. He is always trying to fight against those things but I don’t think he will have any problem about that, to play in the way he knows how to.” Guardian Service