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Thursday 18 July 2013

Winning ways welcome as Pellegrini eyes Barclays Asia Trophy

Man City manager aiming to hit the ground running at Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong

Manuel Pellegrini has called upon his Manchester City players to treat the Barclays Asia Trophy as a key stepping stone to regaining the Barclays Premier League title they won in the 2011/12 campaign, saying, “the season starts now”.

"Working hard every day we are going to arrive at the first official match in Premier League in our best moment"
Manuel Pellegrini

Pellegrini only began his job as Man City manager this month, but he is already spelling out the message that his side must hit the ground running when they take on South China in the Barclays Asia Trophy semi-finals on 24 July, as he explained in an exclusive interview for

“I speak with the players, and every day I say the same thing, ‘You must think that the Premier League starts tomorrow so the daily work must be very, very hard every day’,” he said. “It seems that 40 days are a lot of days before the start [of the season] but they are not so many days. Working hard every day we are going to arrive at the first official match in Premier League in our best moment, that’s what we are trying to do every day with them.”

City’s players have thus been left with the clearest message that they are required to impress their new manager from the outset, beginning with their encounter with the Hong Kong First Division champions, closely followed, three days later, by what promises to be another testing fixture against Tottenham Hotspur or Sunderland at the Hong Kong Stadium.

“Our target is to prepare the whole squad for the Premier League,” said Pellegrini. “It’s important always to win a trophy and to start winning of course is important.”

The former Real Madrid and Malaga head coach who succeeded Roberto Mancini this summer also highlighted the importance of giving as many of his players as possible match time in the competitive environment of the Barclays Asia Trophy in order to prepare them for their opening match of the season, which kicks off on 19 August at home to Newcastle United.

“I’m not going to play just with one team and leave all the other players without minutes,” the 59-year-old said. “We’re going to play all the players in the pre-season matches, and if by doing that we can win, then perfect.”

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Key Points

  • Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini prepares for Barclays Asia Trophy
  • Chilean aims to restore a winning mentality within City players
  • City's 32-man party to play their first match against South China on 24 July