LONDON • Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned his Premier League leaders that bottom dwellers Aston Villa will be extra motivated tomorrow.
Manchester City travel to Villa Park unbeaten in their last four league games while the hosts have lost nine of their last 10.
That run of results has led to the sacking of Tim Sherwood and the appointment of new manager Remi Garde.
And Pellegrini is expecting the Villa side to impress the new boss.
"When you have a new manager, you have a reaction," the Chilean said yesterday. "He is a young but experienced manager who was at an important club, Lyon. There are no easy games in the Premier League. Villa now have the motivation not to be relegated."
City midfielder Fabian Delph has recovered from a hamstring injury just in time to return to his former club for the first time since leaving Villa in the summer.
Defender Gael Clichy is also back in contention but playmaker David Silva is not yet fit.
"Maybe Clichy and Delph are not ready to start but they are to be on the bench and that's important," Pellegrini said. "I hope that after the break, we can rotate as we have to play a lot of games - you cannot win trophies with just 11 players."
Garde has a daunting first assignment and the 49-year-old stopped short of guaranteeing that he would save Villa from their first top-flight relegation since 1987.
"I'm not a dreamer or a magic man but I have strong ideas," he said, with his club four points from safety. "I haven't the certainty we will stay in the Premier League because the situation we are in is difficult but I have a strong belief we will do it."
Garde, who watched from the stands as Villa slumped to a 1-3 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, said he would have rejected the job if he felt he could not turn things around.
"If I didn't think I could change things, I would have said 'No, this job is not for me', but I've got the hope that we can do it. I just want to be manager of a winning team.
"I am confident, it's 28 games to go. I am not coming to prepare for next season in a lower division.
"I met owner (Randy Lerner), I met Tom Fox (chief executive), we had very good meetings. I had very good feelings which made me accept this difficult mission.
"I think (Bundesliga outfit) Borussia Moenchengladbach started with five defeats in a row and then they had six wins in a row.
"In football, you never know. When, mathematically, it's done, you shake hands and it's finished."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
ASTON VILLA V MANCHESTER CITY
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