Former Real Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini, who is coach of Manchester City, decided to field a strong side containing almost all of his key players against Stoke City on Saturday, rejecting the chance to rest some of his bigger names just three days before they face Real Madrid in the Champions League.
In-formKevin De Bruyne and key player Vincent Kompany were the only guaranteed starters not included in Pellegrini’s XI for the earl y kick-off.
Pellegrini clearly favored the option of maintaining momentum following an impressive run of results rather than give players such as Sergio Aguero a breather before taking on Real.
The Premier League recently moved the fixture from Sunday to Saturday lunchtime, to give the Manchester side longer to prepare for Tuesday’s UCL match.
Like their La Liga counterparts, City still has a lot to play for in the Premier League as they look to secure fourth place ahead of rivals Manchester United.
Manuel Pellegrini says the best way to prepare for the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid is by beating Stoke City on Saturday.
Only Samir Nasri is unavailable for the visit of Mark Hughes’s side after David Silva, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna recovered from minor injuries.
Pellegrini told a news conference: It’s very important we’re in the Champions League semifinal, but that doesn’t mean we’re not worried about the Premier League.
All the big teams must try to reach the final of the Champions League and be involved in domestic games and titles. It is very important to get a spot in next season’s Champions League.