Football: Pellegrini keen to keep match-winner Milner at Man City

James Milner celebrating his goal against Sheffield Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
James Milner celebrating his goal against Sheffield Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said he wanted James Milner's contract situation to be resolved quickly after the England midfielder's brace took the club into the FA Cup fourth round.

Milner ended a run of over two years without a goal at the Etihad Stadium by scoring both goals in Sunday's 2-1 third-round victory over Sheffield Wednesday, including a 91st-minute winner. The former Leeds United, Newcastle United and Aston Villa player, who turned 29 on Sunday, will be out of contract at the end of the season, but Pellegrini hopes a new deal will prove a formality.

"There is no news on the contract for the moment. But I hope we will find an arrangement," Pellegrini said. "I've said already what I think about James Milner. He's a very useful player. I brought him on in our last game as a substitute and I think he made more chances than a lot of players, three or four clear chances.

"But he always plays at 100 percent commitment and intensity for the team so I am happy with him."

Pellegrini named a strong team for the tie and ended up with an even stronger one after bringing on David Silva and Samir Nasri, who combined for Milner's 66th-minute equaliser and helped turned the game on its head.

As his use of personnel proved, it is a competition that Pellegrini says his club take seriously, with City having won the FA Cup in 2011 and lost in the final to Wigan Athletic two years later.

"The FA Cup means a lot for all the English teams," said the Chilean. "It is the most traditional cup, the cup you are only going to play one game each month from now until May, so of course we want to be involved until the last stage.

"I'm relieved because I think we didn't play well. We played very badly, except the last 20 minutes, when maybe we found another gear and tried to create space against a team that defended very well."