City billionaires sunk by the academy kid
Hart and Sterling injured for City as United set sights on fourth place
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.