Resting stars for FA cup was right: Pellegrini

While City have two-goal edge over Dynamo, Pellegrini has warned them that the tie is still not settled.
While City have two-goal edge over Dynamo, Pellegrini has warned them that the tie is still not settled.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Decision pays off as City now have 3-1 advantage over Dynamo Kiev

KIEV • Manuel Pellegrini said Manchester City's 3-1 victory against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League last-16 opening leg on Wednesday vindicated his controversial decision to rest key players for the FA Cup defeat by Chelsea.

He started six teenagers at Stamford Bridge as City were thrashed 5-1 in the fifth round on Sunday, leading to the manager being accused of disrespecting the competition.

Three days later, the Chilean made 10 changes as he restored his stars to the starting line-up and they put the club within reach of the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.

"I think it's important to take the right decision and think about a lot of things, about why you take this decision," he said.

"But in this case, having just 13 players, it was a key decision to rest the team that day."

Goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva in the 15th and 40th minutes respectively were answered only by Vitaliy Buyalskyi in the 58th minute.

  • 1 Manchester City have recorded their first win in the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

    730 Yaya Toure got his first Champions League goal in 730 minutes on Wednesday.

    0 City are the only team left in Europe's elite club competition this season who have yet to keep a clean sheet.

City 'keeper Joe Hart was then forced into a superb save to deny Buyalskiy an equaliser before Yaya Toure's strike a minute before the end gave City a firm advantage for the return leg at the Etihad Stadium on March 15.

Pellegrini said: "I'm very happy because it is a very good result. It is not finished but playing away and having a two-goal lead is very good. The team played well.

"Is the tie settled? No, it is important in football to never think it is finished. But to have that third goal gives us more confidence for the second leg."

After being knocked out by Barcelona at this stage in each of the past two years, City captain Vincent Kompany indicated that they were desperate to make a breakthrough.

The win also ended a run of three consecutive defeats.

"We are going into the second leg with a fairly good chance to go through, which has not been the case before," said the Belgium defender. "We looked like a team that was hungry for success tonight."

City will now focus their attention on the League Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday.

"From tomorrow we are going to think about the League Cup final because it is very important to win a trophy," Pellegrini said.

"(After) the final, we must return to the Premier League to fight for another 36 points, so we have lots of things still to do."

Dynamo coach Serhiy Rebrov admitted his team were second best on the night.

"Unfortunately, we deserved to lose tonight," he said. "We allowed them to show their strong sides and made lots of mistakes ourselves."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'Resting stars for FA cup was right: Pellegrini'. Print Edition | Subscribe