City bil­lion­aires sunk by the academy kid

Hart and Ster­ling in­jured for City as United set sights on fourth place

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - FRONT PAGE - By Ian Whit­tell at the Eti­had Sta­dium

Joe Hart and Ra­heem Ster­ling limped out of Manch­ester City’s derby de­feat here last night and out of Eng­land’s friendlies against Ger­many and Hol­land.

On a dis­as­trous day for Manuel Pel­le­grini’s side, and their hopes of cling­ing on to a top-four fin­ish and place in next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League, the two key play­ers col­lected in­juries which will side­line them for “three to four weeks”.

“Both of them have mus­cle in­juries - Ra­heem his groin and Joe in his calf,” said Pel­le­grini. “I don’t think a mus­cle in­jury will be fit in one week. Nor­mally three or four.”

Pel­le­grini was in par­tic­u­larly grim mood fol­low­ing a de­feat which leaves his side’s grasp on fourth look­ing in­creas­ingly ten­u­ous, with United and West Ham both within a point of his side, and walked out of one tele­vi­sion in­ter­view.

“I don’t think I lose any con­trol,” said Pel­le­grini, whose side have col­lected four points from the last 18

on of­fer. “It is not the best way to fin­ish the sea­son but I am happy with the at­ti­tude. The play­ers are fo­cused and want to fin­ish as near to the top as they can.

“We con­tinue in the fourth po­si­tion and we have to play for an­other 24 points. I don’t think we de­served to lose. We dom­i­nated the game.”

In the ab­sence of Vin­cent Kom­pany, who in­jured his calf in the mid­week Cham­pi­ons League game with Kiev, 35-year-old Martin Demiche­lis en­dured a tor­rid game at the hands of match win­ner Mar­cus Rash­ford and was re­placed by Pel­le­grini be­fore the hour mark.

“I don’t think so,” said the City man­ager when asked if Rash­ford was too good for Demiche­lis. “It was a mis­take in the first goal. He was ner­vous.”

United man­ager Louis van Gaal claimed vic­tory had given his dress­ing room a real be­lief that, de­spite mount­ing crit­i­cism about his ef­forts this sea­son, his side can fin­ish in the top four.

“I have seen the dress­ing room af­ter the match and it was fan­tas­tic, the hap­pi­ness,” he said. “I don’t think we have had a lot of luck this sea­son and now we have a big re­sult in the Eti­had Sta­dium, equal with West Ham. So, you have a big pos­si­bil­ity. I said be­fore this game that we had to win be­cause oth­er­wise the gap was too big if they had won or drawn. Now we have to win our games.”

Burn­ley’s Tom Heaton is ex­pected to be called up this morn­ing to re­place Hart in Roy Hodg­son’s Eng­land squad, with Jack But­land set to start against Ger­many on Satur­day.

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