Pellegrini ponders rotation as City vie for four trophies

LONDON • Manuel Pellegrini faces an FA Cup selection dilemma at Norwich today, as he attempts to keep Manchester City on track in four competitions.

His side face a testing January schedule that will involve seven matches, possibly nine.

For the City manager, a run in the Champions League is a genuine prospect thanks to a kind draw.

City can also reach the final of the League Cup should they overturn a 1-2 semi-final first-leg deficit against Everton at the end of this month.

With their Premier League title challenge still alive, Pellegrini will give some consideration to squad rotation for today's FA Cup third-round tie.

"It's a lot of games. If you ask me, I always prefer to play in all the competitions," he said. "But I am worried about the FA Cup because, after the early rounds, you will have to postpone your Premier League games to continue in the tournament."

The Chilean's point is that pushing for success on all four fronts is bound to result in a failure somewhere along the line.

His club's recent form suggests the strain may be showing - just two wins from their last five fixtures in all competitions, culminating in Wednesday's League Cup defeat at Goodison Park.

City's defence continues to look vulnerable in the absence of injured captain Vincent Kompany.

Pellegrini, though, feels he has strength in attack to hurt Norwich, even if he decides to rest Argentina forward Sergio Aguero, who is still not fully fit after a heel injury.

"We've got good players. But the way we play, our mentality, we give chances but also create a lot of chances. If our players get chances, normally they will score," he said.

Three wins from their last four games means Norwich go into the tie with renewed belief after easing their Premier League relegation concerns.

They sit six points clear of the bottom three spots.

Manager Alex Neil believes they are moving in the right direction, saying: "To get back-to-back wins is very important. It takes pressure off the games coming up.

"Belief comes with wins, that is the bottom line. If you can get a bit of momentum it is massive.

"We have found a nice balance at the moment, we are looking threatening going forward and that is now two clean sheets."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2016, with the headline 'Pellegrini ponders rotation as City vie for four trophies'. Print Edition | Subscribe