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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he will not be changing his team’s style of play, despite suffering two defeats in a week and losing playmaker David Silva ahead of Manchester United's visit on Sunday.
The Premier League champions have endured an inconsistent start to the season, with Pellegrini coming under increasing pressure to turn things around heading into the weekend’s derby.
A 2-1 loss at in-form West Ham United on Saturday left the Blues third in the table on 17 points, six adrift from leaders Chelsea, before Wednesday’s shock 2-0 Capital One Cup defeat to Newcastle led to suggestions of a crisis approaching.
The beleaguered Chilean has rubbished such talk, however, and insists no drastic changes are needed at the Etihad, even with Silva out for up to a month after injuring his knee.
‘David is a very important player but I always say the same thing. We have a squad and we have to replace him with another player,’ he said at his press conference.
‘I think that we can play faster than we are doing. But still, I remember the games against the Newcastle and West Ham, the best player was their goalkeeper.
‘’f I think back to a year ago, I was answering the same questions. When we didn’t win away for the first six games -- it was the same questions I just answered now.
‘I will continue to play the same way.’
City expect Yaya Toure to be fully fit for the meeting with Louis van Gaal’s side after the Ivorian picked up a knock in the midweek defeat, and the man who could line up alongside has been preparing for the prospect of competing in his first Manchester derby.
Brazilian midfielder Fernando has made eight total appearances since his £12 million summer move from Porto and, after being rested on the bench for the Newcastle match, is eager to make an impression on Sunday.
‘We know that every time we talk about a derby, there is always a high expectation,’ he told the club’s official website. ‘We always feel the butterflies in our stomach.
‘The atmosphere is always that of expectation and there are some nerves. I can't wait for the game to start.
‘This will be my first derby and I hope we can win. There is a big competition here.
‘It means a lot to the fans; therefore we know we must win it for them so we will do our very best to reward them with a victory.’
In news away from the derby, former City midfielder Elano says he would love to make a return to the Premier League in the winter.
The Brazilian international joined the Citizens from Shakhtar Donetsk in August 2007 for £8 million, scoring 18 goals in 80 total appearances, before moving on to Turkish giants Galatasaray in July 2009.
Currently plying his trade in the new Indian Super League with Chennaiyin FC, the 33-year-old has scored five goals in his first four matches to top the scoring charts but, with his contract up in December, remains keen on a second crack at English football.
‘It's certainly a possibility, but something like this does not depend only on me,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘There has to be interest from the clubs as well but I'm doing my part. I'm working hard, I'm playing well and if returning to England is a possibility for me then I would be very interested.
‘I have a lot of memories that I carry with me from Manchester City,’ he continued. ‘But I remember them very fondly because they are the team of my daughter Marie-Theresa who is eight years old now.
‘She was born when I was in Manchester and they are the team she supports. It's difficult for me to find the words to express what Manchester City means to me and my family.’
One more recently departed City star is Alvaro Negredo, who earned his first minutes for Valencia last week after being sidelined since pre-season with an injury.
The Spanish striker returned to his homeland on a season-long loan in August, with the La Liga side obliged to make the move a permanent £24 million transfer following the 2014-15 campaign.
Having netted an impressive 23 goals in 48 games during his lone season in Manchester, the 29-year-old’s parting came as somewhat of a surprise, especially considering it left the club with just three senior front men, and former teammate Toure has revealed how disappointed the squad were to see to him go.
‘One of my team-mates Alvaro Negredo went to Valencia,’ he told car manufacturer Nissan, for who he is a global ambassador, when discussing some of football’s best summer deals.
‘He has had injuries but was brilliant for us over the last year and I think he will make a great move.
‘We are all sad and disappointed to see him go because he was one of the top strikers in the last year. He had a couple of events and needed to go back to his country but we are going to miss him a lot.’