City warm up for Chelsea with easy win

Manchester City warmed up for next weekend’s Community Shield against Chelsea with a straightforward win over Limerick FC at Thomond Park last night.

City had little trouble picking up the win in front of 20,672 fans after an Edin Dzeko first-half brace, but even with the winning squad they have accumulated there is a feeling that they still need to strengthen with an assault on Europe in mind.

Robin Van Persie and Daniele de Rossi have both been reported targets for Roberto Mancini and coach David Platt refused to rule out any transfer action ahead of the new season.

“There is a lot of names being linked with ourselves. Robin is one of them. He is a top, top player. The manager has always said he is an Arsenal player at this moment in time and until that changes there is not much more to talk about,” said the former England international.

“It is difficult. What we have done over the last four years at the football club since I have been here, there has been a lot of activity in the summer to build a team that is capable of going on challenging for the league, and that has been done.

“We have got targets, the gaffer has identified his targets, but to improve our team they have to be top class players. When your targets are top, top players they become very difficult to get. I am not too sure if anything will happen in the next week, but there is activity going on to see if we could do.”

And while Platt said he was happy with pre-season to date, he admitted Mario Balotelli and David Silva might not start City’s season opener against Southampton on Sunday August 19 after an extended break post-Euro 2012.

“It is a tall order for Mario and David to be ready for the 19th when they’ll have been back just three weeks and the lack of games we have got into them. They’ll be ready to play some part in it but whether we feel they are ready to start games we don’t know.

“Literary their first action on a football pitch is going to be in the Charity Shield because we cannot get a game during the week for them.”

Amongst all the transfer talk, City were the guests of Limerick FC, 21 years on from their last meeting, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Limerick club.

After probing for the opening half-hour City took the lead on 33 minutes when James Milner found space down the right after a nutmeg on Shane Tracy. The England international cut the ball back beautifully to Dzeko and Dave Ryan unluckily failed to keep out the Bosnian’s poor finish.

Three minutes from the break Dedryck Boyata finished well at the back post to double City’s advantage and two minutes later Dzeko robbed Shane Guthrie before a crisp finish to give the English side a 3-0 lead at half-time.

With one eye on tonight’s EA Sports Cup semi-final against Shamrock Rovers, Pat Scully made a plethora of changes, but they were unable to alter the momentum of the game as City cruised through the second-half.

Portuguese youngster Marcos Lopes flashed a drive over Shane Cusack’s crossbar in the 70th minute and James Milner came close with a free kick from the edge of the area shortly after, but 11 minutes from time, City got a deserved fourth when Luca Scapuzzi turned in Andrea Mancini’s shot which came back off the post. But City in second gear were never troubled as they warmed up nicely to defend their Premier League crown.

LIMERICK FC: D Ryan (Cusack, 45+3) (B Ryan, 70); Kluciar (Sheedy, 57), Purcell (Guthrie, 38), Treacy (Cowpar, 74), Tracy; Sheehan (Kelly, h-t), Gamble (Behan, h-t), Bradley (Brosnan, h-t) (O’Brien, 79), Judge (McGrath, 60), McGann (Whitehead, 67); Foley (Coughlan, h-t).

MANCHESTER CITY: Pantilimon; Boyata, Lescott, Clichy; Milner (Mancini, 74), Nasri (Scapuzzi, 32), Evans (Wabara, 57), Suarez, McGivern (Lopes, h-t); Dzeko (Bunn, 70), Santa Cruz (Facey, 74).

Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).

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