Manchester City latest: Moscow match ‘could be called off’ as boss praises Garcia

Manuel Pellegrini

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As Manchester City prepare to face CSKA Moscow in the Champions League tomorrow evening, Blues manager Manuel Pellegrini has criticised the state of the Russian side’s pitch.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference the Chilean said, “I think it’s unbelievable that the most important cup competition is allowed to be played on this pitch. We must pray on Wednesday that it’s not raining.

If it’s raining it will be impossible to play on this pitch. It could be called off.”

Pellegrini is baffled by UEFA’s decision to allow the game to go ahead at CSKA’s Arena Khimki ground, after their previous home group match against Viktoria Plzen was moved to St Petersburg after similar concerns.

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Not that CSKA’s manager thinks they have much of a chance if the game does go ahead.

Speaking to the Mirror, coach Leonid Slutsky said, “We can hardly beat them on skill.”

He later made a joke at his side’s current woeful form, when he said, “I suppose the quality of the pitch is equal to the quality of our latest results.”

So that is pretty bad then.

And finally, with both Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis unavailable for tomorrow’s match, Pellegrini has reasserted his faith in makeshift centre-back Javi Garcia.

Although Joleon Lescott is the more likely partner for Matija Nastasic, Pellegrini told the Manchester Evening News, “I think he played very well at centre-back and we need him at this moment in that position.”

How Lescott feels about those comments remains to be seen, but they could hasten his departure when the January transfer window finally opens.

image: © Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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