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Pellegrini: Man City didn't deserve to go out

Manuel Pellegrini has managed his last City game in Europe. Credit: PA

Manuel Pellegrini bemoaned Manchester City's luck after a deflected Gareth Bale strike ended their Champions League dream.

Fernando diverted Bale's shot into his own net after 20 minutes of the semi-final second leg at a deafening Bernabeu, sending City crashing to a 1-0 defeat both on the night and on aggregate.

It was no less than the Spanish side deserved after creating a host of chances while City struggled to create any momentum after captain Vincent Kompany - yet again - was forced off injured early in the match.

But City boss Pellegrini did not agree with official statistics that said Real had 15 attempts on goal to his side's four and claimed defeat was harsh on the visitors.

I think we didn't deserve to lose this game. I think Real were very lucky with their goal, or we were very unlucky because it was a deflection that put the ball in the top corner.

None of the teams deserved to win and we should have gone to penalties. It is not that we saw Real Madrid better than us, but with the ball we were not creative enough to damage their defence.

I think we worked very well the whole game, that is why Real couldn't create many chances - but after that we needed creative players who could make the difference in the last third and we couldn't (do it).

I don't think they had 15 attempts. I don't know what the statistics make as attempts.

– Manuel Pellegrini


Starting line-ups: Real Madrid v Man City

Ronaldo fit to face Man City in Champions League

Ronaldo is fit to face Man City. Credit: PA

Cristiano Ronaldo has been passed fit for the second leg of Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final against Manchester City, coach Zinedine Zidane has announced.

The former Manchester United forward has missed Real's last three games - including the goalless draw in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium last week - with a thigh injury.

But the Portuguese has played a full part in training ahead of Wednesday's second clash at the Bernabeu and Zidane says he is ready to return.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Zidane said: "Cristiano is okay. He is 100 per cent. He trained this morning and he will be there tomorrow."

Defeat has dented City's confidence says Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho has admitted Manchester City will head to Real Madrid with their confidence damaged by Sunday's 4-2 Premier League defeat at Southampton.

Nigeria hitman Iheanacho struck twice as City's sole positive in a bleak south coast thumping at the hands of Ronald Koeman's Saints, for whom Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick.

The 19-year-old hopes to have earned a start for City's Champions League semi-final second leg at Real on Wednesday night, but admitted Manuel Pellegrini's side saw their preparations dented in defeat at Saints.

"This was not good preparation, this game didn't give us enough confidence but we'll put it behind us as soon as we leave here and focus on the game on Wednesday," said Iheanacho.

"We need to put it behind us, it's gone, it's not going to come back.

"So many things went wrong in the game, we lost so many balls and we didn't defend well.

"We lost so we're not happy, but we'll put it behind us and come back stronger."

But will he start in the week? Only time will tell.


Man City boss Pellegrini annoyed by scheduling

Manuel Pellegrini has been happier. Credit: PA

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes the scheduling of Sunday's game at Southampton hampers his side's hopes in the Champions League.

City's players will have one day's rest less than Real Madrid ahead of the second leg of their semi-final at the Bernabeu next Wednesday.

Pellegrini wanted the Southampton game, which kicks off at 4.30pm on Sunday, brought forward to Saturday. It is understood enquiries were made but the club did not pursue an official request because, as the fixture was selected for television coverage, it was decided it would have little chance of success.

In the Premier League, I don't understand why when having so many games, and they all have the same interest, that we can't play one day before to have 24 hours (more rest), at least having the same as Real Madrid.

Why? It's not my answer to say because maybe there are things about TV rights to make that decision.

As a manager you always want to have all the options for Manchester City but you are representing England in the Champions League. You at least don't want to give the advantage to the other team. That is very important.

– Manuel Pellegrini

Man City hijack Man United deal for £46m midfielder

Man City have hijacked a £46m deal that would have seen rivals Man United sign Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches.

Sanches is set to leave Benfica for Manchester. Credit: PA

According to reports in Portugal, Pep Guardiola was so impressed with the 18 year old during Bayern Munich's two Champions League ties against Benfica that he instructed City officials to pursue the teenager immediately.

With the media reporting that United are on the brink of confirming the Portuguese international, it remains to be seen whether he favours a move to the blue half of Manchester.

After starring for Benfica's B team in 2014/15, Sanchez forced his way into the first team in October 2015, two months after celebrating his 18th birthday.

A string of commanding performances since then earned Sanches his first two senior Portugal caps as he began drawing comparisons with Paul Pogba, the French international whose loss at Old Trafford still rankles with the club's hierarchy.

One key factor in the chase for Sanches could boil down to whether Jose Mourinho replaces Louis van Gaal in the summer, since Mourinho and Sanches are both represented by Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes.

Man City v Real Madrid starting line-ups

Cristiano Ronaldo poses for a selfie after failing a late fitness test. Credit: Reuters
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