English Premiership

Pellegrini expects tough Cup tie

2015-01-23 07:40
Manuel Pellegrini (Getty Images)

Manchester - Manuel Pellegrini admits Manchester City cannot afford to be caught cold if they are to avoid an FA Cup upset against Championship club Middlesbrough on Saturday.

City have spent the week enjoying a warm weather training camp in Abu Dhabi, home of the club's owners, before flying back into freezing England late on Friday.

Less than 24 hours later they will face Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the Cup at Eastlands and City boss Pellegrini says the 2011 winners will have to be at their best to go through.

"I expect a tough game. They are in a very good position in the Championship and they are managed by a good manager who I know," Pellegrini said.

"I am sure that if we don't play with 100 per cent intensity and concentration we are going to have problems to qualify for the next stage of the cup so we need to play a good game against a good team.

"Maybe they are not in the Premier League but they are fighting to get promoted."

City are looking to bounce back from a 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal in their last game, which left them five points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, who they face next weekend.

Pellegrini's side will therefore be looking for a confidence-boosting result against a side challenging for promotion under Karanka, who moved to Real Madrid as assistant manager to Jose Mourinho after Pellegrini was sacked by Real in 2010.

City may be without midfielder Frank Lampard, who sustained a hip injury in the warm-up to their midweek friendly against German side Hamburg and lasted just 20 minutes of the 2-0 win.

However, Edin Dzeko, who scored in that game, could start his first game for a month following injury and goalkeeper Willy Caballero is targeting another decent run in the competition.

Caballero, who has played in all of City's domestic cup ties this season after signing from Malaga last year, said: "Every trophy is important to us and we know that if we can beat Middlesbrough on Saturday, we will already be in the last 16 of the FA Cup.

"This is a trophy we have done very well in over the past three or four years, winning the cup, reaching the final and making the quarter-finals in the past four years.

"We know we made hard work of the 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round and that Middlesbrough are playing very well at the moment.

"Sheffield Wednesday played very well and worked hard to make it a difficult match for us. We expect nothing less from Middlesbrough."

Karanka, meanwhile, has urged Middlesbrough to recreate the spirit of Anfield as they look to give another impressive account of themselves against high-profile Premier League opposition.

The Teesside club won plaudits after pushing Liverpool all the way in the League Cup in September, eventually bowing out 14-13 on penalties after more than playing their part in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Middlesbrough will be backed by more than 5,000 supporters at Eastlands and Karanka said: "We showed with our display against Liverpool earlier this season that we can do well against the big sides.

"We'll have a lot of fans there behind us and we'll look to put on a good show for them."

Middlesbrough's priority remains regaining the top flight place they surrendered in 2009 after relegation to the Championship.

They are on course for promotion under Karanka, pulling to within a point of leaders Bournemouth after a 2-1 midweek victory over Cardiff City.

Middlesbrough have lost just once in their last 15 games and Karanka added: "We've had some important league games in the run-up to facing Manchester City, but now we can focus all our attention on what's a big challenge for us against a very impressive side."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
Crystal Palace v Watford, Selhurst Park 22:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.