Rooney doubt means nothing to Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists uncertainty over Wayne Rooney’s fitness will have no bearing on his plan for this weekend’s Manchester derby.

Doubt has been cast over United striker Rooney’s availability for Sunday’s Premier League clash against rivals City following a report that he has suffered a foot injury.

It was claimed the United captain was seen limping at a sponsors’ function on Monday after apparently being hurt in training. United have not commented on the report.

Pellegrini claims the uncertainty does not affect his preparations as his game-plan is based on containing United’s firepower as a whole, rather than focusing on any individual.

Pellegrini said: “We really don’t change our way to play for some player, or other player. If it’s not Wayne Rooney it will be Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata or Robin van Persie.

“They have so many creative players that they have a lot of different chances. We cannot prepare for a game talking about one player because (if) he doesn’t play we have to change all of what we do.

“We really try to play with a style of play every game. I am sure Wayne Rooney is one of the important players of Manchester United but also other players are very difficult for us.”

Rooney had been expected to return for the clash at the Etihad Stadium after completing a three-match suspension.

Even though United have not lost since Rooney began his ban, his comeback would give the team a lift as they tackle the champions, to whom they lost 4-1 and 3-0 last season.

The 29-year-old holds the record for the most goals scored in Manchester derbies with 11 in 22 appearances. Pellegrini, speaking at a press conference to preview his side’s Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle tonight, was also asked if United did City a favour last weekend.

United struck a late equaliser to claim a draw against Premier League leaders Chelsea, preventing them moving eight points clear of City.

Asked if he celebrated Van Persie’s goal, Pellegrini said, laughing: “I don’t remember. At that moment, I thought the game was finished and I went to drink a glass of water.

“When they told me after how the game finished I smiled.”

City midfielder Yaya Toure has been named on a 23-man shortlist to win the 2014 Ballon d’Or.

Toure was outstanding as City won the title last season and Pellegrini believes more of his players should be striving to hit those standards.

Pellegrini hopes this will come as a natural consequence of City’s continued growth and increasing importance on the European stage.

The Chilean has already spoken this season about striker Sergio Aguero, who has scored 11 goals in 12 games this season, as a potential Ballon d’Or winner, bracketing him with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

He said: “I don’t know all the players who are nominated but I always say we need more players who are nominated for those awards.

“It cannot always be Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern (Munich).”

Pellegrini will consider changes for tonight’s clash with Newcastle.

But the former Real Madrid boss maintains the Capital One is of high importance.

He said: “It is very important for the club to win trophies, it doesn’t matter which competition we are playing. We are trying to win the four competitions in the same way.”


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