Pellegrini: Defeat not just because of Sterling

Date published: Wednesday 16th September 2015 8:08

Kevin De Bruyne and Eliaquim Mangala: Look dejected during Man City's defeat to Juventus

Kevin De Bruyne and Eliaquim Mangala: Dejected during Man City's defeat to Juventus

Manuel Pellegrini rued Manchester City’s profligacy in their Champions League defeat to Juventus but refused to single out Raheem Sterling.

City looked in control of the Group D encounter at the Etihad Stadium after taking the lead courtesy of a Giorgio Chiellini own goal just before the hour.

But Sterling, David Silva and Wilfried Bony were then denied by the brilliant Gianluigi Buffon as Juve came from behind to secure a 2-1 win courtesy of fine goals from strikers Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata.

Sterling also spurned an opportunity in the second minute while Fernandinho twice went close and Bony sliced another effort horribly wide before the break.

Pellegrini admitted his side needed to be more clinical but refused to apportion blame, with £49million man Sterling coming in for particular criticism for his misses.

The Chilean said: “I expect that when we have chances we must score. The differences are very slight, especially against a strong team like Juventus. Maybe Juventus didn’t create so many chances but they had a strong finish.

“I don’t think this result is just because of Raheem. We controlled the game and didn’t have many problems but football is like that.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose. We played better than Juventus and we had three clear opportunities to score.

“Buffon made some very good saves but I think we were very unlucky. We never want to lose here at home, we never want to lose important points, but we have 15 points more to play for.”


Another critical moment came after 75 minutes, with the score at 1-1, as City skipper Kompany was forced off with a calf injury.

His replacement Nicolas Otamendi, making his City debut, was caught out and Morata curled in a brilliant winner.

City will now wait on updates on Kompany’s condition ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with West Ham.

City missed Sergio Aguero up front with their star striker limited to just six minutes off the bench due to a knee injury.

Pellegrini said: “It was a risk to use him. I tried not to because if he got a kick in the same part it could take him more days to recover. Fortunately he did not have any problems and I hope he will be fit for Saturday.”

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