x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pellegrini says Manchester City's Pretoria defeat was expected

Pre-season games: Manager's first game ends in defeat in South Africa while Arsenal win over an All Star Indonesia side by 7-0 margin.

Manuel Pellegrini, left, started his reign over Manchester City on a losing note. Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Manuel Pellegrini, left, started his reign over Manchester City on a losing note. Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Manuel Pellegrini's first game as Manchester City manager finished in a 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat against SuperSport United in Pretoria yesterday, but the coach said it was not a shock result.

Fernandinho was given a starting berth at Loftus Versfeld and the tourists looked strong in the first half, but could not find the breakthrough.

Pellegrini changed the entire XI at half time, and the hosts needed only 11 minutes after the restart to break the deadlock.

Senegalese striker Mame Niang rose highest to nod the opener past Costel Pantilimon in the 56th minute, with a neat finish from South African forward Kermit Erasmus sealing matters nine minutes from time.

Pellegrini told reporters after the game: "First of all it's my first match in charge. But for Manchester City and for me it's an honour to participate here in South Africa.

"The players were clear with what they had to do in this game. I spoke with them before the match and we had four or five days working together.

"We're not prepared to play the way we want them to play, so this was a normal match for pre-season.

"I'm not worried and this is what we expected."

Pellegrini also confirmed that right-back Maicon was on his way out.

"We are not in a hurry to bring new players in, but we are clear that we need two or three more before the season begins," Pellegrini said.

"Maicon didn't come here to the pre-season and he will not be in the squad at Manchester City this year.

"It's difficult to say a date for any new arrivals, but before July finishes, I think we will have more players."

There were further disappointments to come for the Premier League runners-up, when Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure limped off in the 83rd minute.

Meanwhile, Arsenal enjoyed a much more successful start to their tour of the Far East, hammering the Indonesia All Stars XI 7-0 in Jakarta.

England forward Theo Walcott slammed home the opener after 19 minutes, before the goals rained down after the interval.

Chuba Akpom slotted home nine minutes after the restart, and Olivier Giroud's two goals stretched the Gunners' advantage to 4-0 by the 73rd minute.

Lukas Podolski, Kristoffer Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld added their names to the scoresheet in the final eight minutes to seal the rout.

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