Jul 31, 2014, 5:14 PM EDT
Overall Manchester City have impressed on their preseason tour of the U.S. this summer so far.
Two players in particular have shone, as they stake their claim for a regular starting spot in the upcoming season.
[RELATED: Thoughts on Man City vs. AC Milan]
For Stevan Jovetic and Scott Sinclair last season was a frustrating one spent on the sidelines at the Etihad Stadium. Yet after promising preseason displays from both men this summer, they are aiming to become influential figures in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad.
Jovetic, 24, has scored five goals in three games since City arrived Stateside and Sinclair scored against AC Milan with a superb finish. The former could be a key player for City this season, as injuries plagued his debut season in the Premier League last year after arriving from Fiorentina. With fellow strikers Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo out injured and away from the squad, Jovetic has grabbed his chance to shine this summer with both hands. In the last four days Jovetic scored twice against AC and then bagged a double against Liverpool with predatory strikes. He looks sharp, lean and ready to impress.
As for Sinclair, the English winger burst onto the scene with Swansea City in 2010 but his career has stalled since signing for City as ill-fated loan moves and injures have curtailed the wingers’ progression. Against AC Milan he scored a wonderful goal, whipped in delightful crosses and did the same against Liverpool at Yankee Stadium as he jinxed past tackles and show plenty of attacking intent. The likes of Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas and James Milner stand in Sinclair’s way but he’s aiming to make a charge.
Following City’s 5-1 defeat of AC Milan in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last Sunday, we caught up with Jovetic and Sinclair in the tunnel at Heinz Field to chat about their summer so far and the season ahead.
On his injury status during preseason…
It is all okay, I took a rest for three weeks and after that I started to do the program with City in Scotland and then here in the U.S. I feel good.
On his goals and if City’s fans haven’t seen the best of him yet…
I hope that they are going to see a lot of things from me. Last season when I was fit I played well. This year hopefully when I prepare with them I will do well.
On how hard it was to keeping recovering last season…
It was difficult. In that moment you have to believe in yourself, when the fitness comes you need to enjoy it and play well like I did. I hope that this year I am going to score lots of goals.
On Pellegrini saying he’s an important part of the squad…
Yes, I spoke with him the other day about this. I am happy that he has confidence in me and I will do everything on the pitch to show that I deserve to play.
On if he ever thought about leaving City last season…
Honestly I wasn’t happy. That was obvious. I didn’t play but I never said that I shouldn’t have moved to England. I knew that I am good and that I can play for City. After that, when I was fit for the last three months, I played in every game and came in for 30 minutes of 45 minutes, some games I started. This year I hope I can help the guys much more.
On mentally not being able to deal with the pressure last season…
I think the most important thing is the head, in football. There are good players but the head is the most important. In that moment that everyone was talking about me saying he is not good, he was bought for $30 million, I was quiet and working. I knew that I was going to show myself in the best light.
On having a good preseason under his belt…
This is probably one of the best preseasons I’ve had. Getting the minutes I am getting now, I haven’t had that so I feel great and you can see it in the performances. I am scoring goals and I am getting back to my normal self and how I was playing at Swansea.
On the importance of preseason…
Preseason is probably the most important time for any footballer. To get those matches, I feel great. I am ready for the season now and to see what happens.
On the adversity of being out last season…
As a player you have to go through the tough times. For the last 18 months it has been a very tough time for me. Going on loan, getting injured and also having a blood clot the previous year. All I can do now is look forward and whenever I get the opportunity I’ve go to produce, get goals whenever I can and keep playing well.
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