Jul 26, 2014, 3:58 PM EDT
Going into his second season as a manger in the Premier League, Manchester City’s boss Manuel Pellegrini is preparing his squad for back-to-back titles by spending preseason in the USA. In his debut campaign in England, the 60-year-old Chilean delivered a League Cup and a PL title as he stamped his mark on English soccer in style.
[RELATED: Full U.S. tour schedule]
This summer City are Stateside, as they continue to promote their new team in Major League Soccer, New York City FC, plus get themselves ready for the new PL season which begins on August 16. On Wednesday City hammered Sporting Kansas City 4-1 at Sporting Park, as a mixture of stars and youngsters beat the reigning MLS Cup champions to lift the “Champions Shield.”
Pellegrini and his squad have been training in New Jersey before traveling to Pittsburgh to face Italian giants AC Milan in the Steel City on Sunday. City’s preseason preparations will then continue to be cranked up a notch as they face Liverpool at Yankee Stadium on July 30, then Olympiakos in Minneapolis on August 2 before potentially playing in the final of the International Champions Cup in Miami on August 4.
Speaking to reporters via a conference call on Saturday, Pellegrini had the following to say on the Citizens’ U.S. tour so far, how he plans to approach Sunday’s match, title ambitions and much more.
On how the tour has been so far…
I am very happy. We are working very well here, first in Kansas and now in New Jersey. The game against Sporting Kansas was very useful and tomorrow against AC Milan we hope to continue the same way we have so far.
On the importance of playing a top quality opponent like AC Milan…
Both teams are in preseason but it is an important match because we are in the International Champions Cup. I think it is most important to continue what we are doing. In this program we have a friendly match against AC Milan. We know they have a new manager and they are perhaps starting a new way of playing. I hope the game tomorrow will be a good game for both teams.
On the importance of winning vs. giving players minutes and chance to impress…
It is always important to win. When we start the game tomorrow our minds will be focused on winning that game. I think the preparation around the game is important but it is important for us to win.
On how huge this preseason is for Stevan Jovetic…
Stevan is a very important player for our team. There have been a lot of rumors about him leaving our team but nothing is there.
On the young players coming through at Man City…
We have a lot of young players here and the likes of Scott Sinclair and Kelechi Iheanacho played well against Kansas City. It is a very important chance for them to show what they can do in our squad. This moment is their moment because we just had five players arrive back from the World Cup yesterday, we have another five or six players who have not arrived yet. The young players are working very hard and they must take their chance when it arrives.
On the likes of Man United, Chelsea strengthening over the summer…
I think every year you have five or six teams in the Premier League who are very strong. This year Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are bringing in new players but I think we have a strong squad and we are having a good preseason. We also need three or four players to improve our squad so we will see throughout the year which teams are better but I continue to think we have a very strong squad and have a great opportunity to win the title again.
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