Pellegrini: Don't boo Fab
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini claims Fabian Delph does not deserve to be booed on his return to Aston Villa tomorrow.
Delph angered fans when he abruptly quit Villa Park in July just weeks after issuing a strong statement pledging his future to the midlands outfit.
The 25-year-old has featured little for City since because of injuries but is now back in contention and could feature at Villa Park.
Asked if Delph could expect a difficult welcome, Pellegrini said: "No, I hope he will not receive that. He played a lot of years for Aston Villa and Aston Villa wanted to sell him also.
"He continued being a player that gave a lot of his career to Aston Villa and I don't think the fans will forget all those things."
Delph, then Villa captain, was heavily linked with City at the end of last season but he appeared to rule out a move when he spoke out to "set the record straight" and say, "I'm not leaving". He then performed a volte-face to join City in an £8million deal and, with hamstring issues now behind him, Pellegrini claims he will not lack motivation.
The Chilean said: "Fabian made (a lot of) his career at Aston Villa but he is a professional player, now he is playing with us. I know that he wants to play also because he was a long time injured."
City, the Premier League leaders, take on a Villa side struggling at the bottom of the table but potentially lifted by the arrival of new manager Remi Garde this week. Pellegrini said: "For me there are no easy games in the Premier League."