Better finishing will cure Manchester City’s away form

Manager confident his experienced charges are ideally placed to make their title push

Leroy Sane of Schalke: Manchester City have identified the 19-year-old German international as a top target. Photograph:  Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

Leroy Sane of Schalke: Manchester City have identified the 19-year-old German international as a top target. Photograph: Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

 

Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City’s problematic away form will be solved once his players’ finishing improves, with his team having taken three points from the last 18 available on the road.

City have failed to win at an opposition stadium since Crystal Palace were defeated by a late Kelechi Iheanacho strike on September 12th.

At Leicester City on Tuesday evening Pellegrini’s side drew 0-0 when a number of chances were spurned, including a clear opportunity for Sergio Aguero after the break.

Pellegrini feels his squad has sufficient depth but did not rule out strengthening in the winter window. “No, really I think the squad is complete. As always, I said that we are not going to close the window but we are not really thinking of any special players to bring in.”

Of City’s reported interest in Real Madrid’s Isco, who Pellegrini coached when in charge of Malaga, the Chilean said: “I always answer the same for that question. I don’t talk about rumours. I am telling you what I am thinking about for our squad in this moment.”

Manchester City have reportedly made Leroy Sané, the highly rated 19-year-old Schalke forward, a prime transfer target but would hope to pay less than the €40 million the German club are holding out for.

Sané is contracted to Schalke until June 2019 after signing fresh terms in July, putting the German club in a strong position with regard to any bargaining.

City have been monitoring Sané since December 2013 and have now stepped up their interest. Txiki Begiristain, the sporting director, would hope to seal the transfer in January but the summer is considered a more realistic prospect.

Must improve

In City’s previous two Premier League title-winning campaigns, in 2011-12 and 2013-14, they had 45 and 41 points respectively at the halfway juncture. This term they have 36 points, three behind Arsenal and Leicester City.

“Yes of course we are in a good position,” said Pellegrini.

“Always the best position is to be top of the table but I think that this is a special season in the Premier League. Now just three points behind the leaders. I hope we are going to complete with a very good second part of the season.”

Vincent Kompany suffered another calf injury when coming on as a substitute in the 4-1 victory over Sunderland on St Stephen’s Day. The captain lasted only nine minutes before having to be replaced.

Muscle problems

“We are trying to do all to know how we can help Vincent to try to be fit and not to continue with the same calf problems so everything the club can do, we are going to do it.”

Pellegrini said his squad can enjoy the festivities. “All of them must celebrate New Year’s Eve but I think they can do it early – maximum one o’clock,” he said.

Guardian Service

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