Pellegrini hopes for kinder songs

Manuel Pellegrini is expecting a more favourable crowd reaction as Manchester City return to Wembley this weekend.

Pellegrini hopes for kinder songs

The Chilean was not at the national stadium last May when City suffered a shock loss to Wigan in the FA Cup final.

But his name was certainly sung aloud — and not in pleasant tones — as rumours that he was about to replace the popular Roberto Mancini filtered through to fans.

Mancini was a favourite with supporters having won the FA Cup in 2011 and followed up by guiding City to a first league title since 1968 12 months later.

His impending departure was resented but the decision was made and Pellegrini was installed a month later.

Pellegrini has since won fans round with his free-flowing brand of attacking football and it could yield a first trophy as they take on Sunderland tomorrow.

When asked what might have changed since City’s last Wembley visit, Pellegrini said: “Well I hope at least the songs!

“I know what happened last year and I think Mancini deserved the support of the fans because he won the title here for the first time in 44 years.

“Everyone knows how passionate Manchester City fans are.

“I give my congratulations to their support, but also I feel that from the moment I arrived here they accepted what the club did and I think they are very happy with the team this year, the way we play and to be in another final.

“I am absolutely sure that all the supporters of Manchester City will back our team and be supporting the whole match.”

Last year’s FA Cup final offered City the chance to earn some consolation after their failure to defend the Premier League title they won in 2012.

It was not to be as the Latics, in a season they were relegated, produced one of the great cup final shocks.

Pellegrini, who is boosted by the potential return of star striker Sergio Aguero, does not think that defeat will play on the minds of the players this week.

The 60-year-old said: “I am absolutely sure that not one of the players who played in that final will be thinking about that this year.

“Everything is different now. I don’t want to say which things are different, }because that’s not my duty, but I’m absolutely sure that they are just thinking about the final against Sunderland and not what happened in the past.”

For Sunderland, the match provides a potentially glorious distraction from their fight against relegation.

The Wearsiders need not have anything to fear either having recorded a home victory over City in each of the past four seasons.

Pellegrini added: “It is always dangerous playing against any team.

“I am sure we are the favourites but we cannot forget that Sunderland eliminated Chelsea and Manchester United — big teams. They are in the final because they deserved it.”

Top scorer Aguero, who has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury, is included in the squad after returning to training this week.

Pellegrini would not comment on whether Aguero might start or whether some of the other cup regulars in Costel Pantilimon, Joleon Lescott or Marcos Lopes might feature.

He said: “Of course it is very important for the team to have Sergio again with us because he is a very important player.

“We must see if he is 100% pto play the whole match.

“It is not easy to choose the 11 starters. All the players deserve to play.”

Meanwhile, Adam Johnson has admitted winning the Capital One Cup with Sunderland would be the highlight of his career to date.

The 26-year-old has 11 senior England caps to his name, as well as winners medals in the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield from his time at City and an FA Youth Cup triumph with first club Middlesbrough.

However, given that the current campaign has seen the Black Cats dispense with Paolo Di Canio after a disastrous start which propelled them into a desperate fight for top-flight survival, victory over City would be little short of remarkable.

Johnson said: “Especially the way the season has gone and playing City, it would probably be the highlight of my career. “When I was at City winning trophies and things, it was half-expected. But at Sunderland, no-one has even given us a chance of winning anything, so to bring that back would be massive.”

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