David Silva and Sergio Aguero will both miss the trip to Aston Villa as Manchester City go in search of their first away win in the league this season.
Having taken just one point from two away games so far, City will be desperate to take all three points against Villa ahead of Wednesday’s match against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“David Silva is not in the squad list. Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis are not available for this match. Aguero finished the derby with a small pain. It is nothing important, but I think it is a risk for him to play three games in the same week,” he said.
“We will leave him for Wednesday [against Bayern Munich] when he will be absolutely fit. We will see in the week about Silva.”
With City’s huge Champions League game at the Etihad on Wednesday, Pellegrini was asked if attentions were already turning to that game, but the manager insisted his and his squad’s focus is only on Villa.
“I am sure that nobody is thinking about Bayern Munich. We will only think about Aston Villa.
“And we need to win away. We lost one at Cardiff and drew at Stoke for different reasons. It is the past now, and I don't continue talking about those two games, but we have the opportunity to win against Aston Villa, and it is important for us to reach the best position of the table. We are thinking just for the next match.
“After we finish the match against Aston Villa, we will just start thinking about the match against Bayern Munich—not before."
He was effusive about the return of Micah Richards, who he sees as an important player. Richards is City’s sole first-team academy graduate, having been at the club since he was 14, and Pellegrini believes that is important to the City team. He also made it clear, despite some rumours to the contrary, that Richards “must play as a right-back” unless it is an “emergency.”
Another player the Chilean feels has a big role to play is Stevan Jovetic, who scored two goals in the midweek Capital One Cup win over Wigan. Despite some niggling injuries keeping him out of the early weeks of the season, he now looks sharp and ready to have an impact on the Premier League.
“That’s why Stevan is here—he will be a very important player for us. Because of different problems, he didn’t start the other games [earlier in the season], but I think that he has qualities and is a very important player,” Pellegrini said.
Having rotated his squad successfully for City’s 5-0 win over Wigan on Tuesday, it seems Pellegrini is getting to know his players, and with three games in eight days coming up, he will need to continue the policy, but it’s something he relishes.
“We’ve just started so it’s difficult in this moment to say who has the strongest squad, but I think we have a very good squad. For me, that is the least problem [keeping players happy]. An important problem for a manager is when you don’t have players to make rotation or play every week. I always say we need two in each position because we have a lot of games to play between now and the end of the year.”
It’s been clear since his return that Vincent Kompany is a vital part of this City side with his leadership and defensive qualities bringing a calming influence to the team. Without him, they sometimes look vulnerable, but his brilliant performance against Manchester United showed everyone his value.
When asked why City look so much better with him in the side, Pellegrini’s answer was simple:
“Because he is a very good player.”
Aston Villa vs. Manchester City—Saturday 28 September at 15:00 BST.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.