Manuel Pellegrini downplays Manchester City's Community Shield defeat

Manchester City Etihad

The Manchester City manager made light of the importance of the Premier League's curtain-raiser.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has played down the significance of his side's 3-0 loss to Arsenal in the Community Shield.

The Premier League champions looked lethargic as they slumped to defeat against the FA Cup holders, but Pellegrini insisted that the match was "one more game of pre-season".

“It is always bad to lose but we don’t need to worry – this was all about players engaging in the game rather than the all-round performance," the Chilean said.

“Today was not the date to make pressure on me for places, it was one game more of pre-season.

"We’ve had seven players who only played five days who weren’t in consideration – lots more who only played eight or nine days.

Pellegrini left a number of players out for the match who had not yet reached full fitness ahead of the new season, including Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Serio Aguero and new signings Bacary Sagna and Frank Lampard.

“It’s difficult to be ready in two weeks," the manager said. "The players - Aguero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Sagna, Fernandinho - just arrived seven days ago.

“They will have 15 days before we start the Premier League, so we will see which of them are ready and which of them are not ready.”

Pellegrini also sprung something of a surprise by starting summer signing Willy Caballero over Joe Hart in goal. The Chilean gave nothing away, however, when asked which goalkeeper would start the season between the sticks.

“The goalkeeper is the same as any other position - most of the players who played today played all of pre-season,” he said. "All the 22 players in the squad are number 1 in all of the positions – we need them all."

“Joe finished last season playing very well – we will see next Sunday who starts against Newcastle."

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