Pitch not to blame for Nastasic injury
By Football News
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says atrocious conditions did not cause an ankle injury to Matija Nastasic in Hong Kong.
The Serbian was stretchered off during the second half of City's 1-0 Barclays Asia Cup triumph over Sunderland.
Nastasic appeared in significant pain as he lay on the ground clutching his right leg and both player and club face a nervous wait to learn the full extent of the injury.
"The doctor has to see him tomorrow when we arrive back in Manchester," Pellegrini said.
"I am concerned but it's better to wait.
"It wasn't the pitch though. He got a kick on his ankle but it was just part of the game."
Joleon Lescott is the front runner to replace the young defender if he is sidelined by the injury.
Edin Dzeko's ninth-minute goal was the difference between the two sides.
But it was the performances of new recruits Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo that caught the manager's eye.
"I know Negredo very well," Pellegrini said.
"When we brought him here we knew he was a successful player and in these two games he's demonstrated what he can do.
"Jesus is the same as Negredo. He gives our team a different option.
"He is very a difficult player (to play against)."
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio was enthused by his side's performance despite the 1-0 loss but admits his team is still a work in progress.
"Some players still don't know what I want from them exactly but we still have a long time," Di Canio said.
"Even some top players are never going to change their mentality, but this process can be up and down.
"There is no way we are overtraining the players though.
"Last year some of them under trained.
"We have to be careful because we have a plan we know we can pay a price."
Di Canio also played down concerns about the condition of the playing surface at the Stadium of Light.
"The pitch was difficult but it was also difficult for them because they have fantastic ability," he said.
"Thinking about it last night I thought it would be a worse pitch.
"But they put a lot of sand in the middle of the pitch and actually it wasn't that bad."