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Friday 9 December 2016

Pellegrini: Man City are good enough for the Champions League

Manuel Pellegrini has overseen three Man City defeats over the last four games
Manuel Pellegrini has overseen three Man City defeats over the last four games

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini had to dash back home after a passport blunder prior to his side's Champions League trip to Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Chilean arrived at Manchester Airport with the rest of his squad for their Tuesday afternoon flight to Germany but was then spotted by photographers leaving in a taxi soon after.

He returned to the airport's Terminal Three around 35 minutes later, still ahead of the scheduled departure of City's chartered flight to Dusseldorf, but with rumours abounding about the reason for his temporary disappearance.

The 62-year-old, speaking at his pre-match press conference at Borussia-Park, later laughed off the incident. Pellegrini said: "It is not important. I have two passports and I brought the wrong passport!"

Pellegrini's gaffe provided a light-hearted moment ahead of the serious business of getting City's campaign in Group D up and running. City were beaten in their opener by Juventus a fortnight ago and go into the game in poor form having lost three of their last four in all competitions.

They will be without captain Vincent Kompany, who has failed to recover from the calf injury that has ruled him out for the last three games. Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony also failed to make the trip, staying at home with other injury victims Eliaquim Mangala, Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph.

City won their first five games of the season without conceding but, in Kompany's absence, have shipped seven in the last three games. Pellegrini tried to play down the absence of his inspirational skipper, as Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi are again set to be partnered in defence.

He said: "Of course Vincent is a very important player. But I don't think one player is so crucial. We won the last six games of last season without Vincent."

Pellegrini shared pre-match media duties with £54million signing Kevin de Bruyne, who has made a fine start to his City career and has now announced that he is to become a father.

The 24-year-old said: "It gives me a good feeling. I am really excited about it. I don't know if it is reflected in the way I am playing."

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