Manuel Pellegrini faces striking dilemma in Manchester City bow

Last Updated: Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 14:24

Manchester (United Kingdom): Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admits he will need all his forward options to deliver trophies as he prepares for his first taste of the Premier League against Newcastle on Monday.

Pellegrini, who replaced Roberto Mancini following the Italian`s dismissal at the end of last season`s trophy-less campaign, lost Carlos Tevez to Juventus in this transfer window, but has added Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic to his attacking options alongside Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

Now the Chilean faces his first striking dilemma on Monday as he debates who will start up front in his opening competitive match in charge at Eastlands.

Champions Manchester United threw down the gauntlet to City with a 4-1 win over Swansea in David Moyes`s first match on Saturday and Pellegrini can ill-afford a slow start to life in England.

City, who surrendered the title to United in tame fashion last season, have not lost an opening-day Premier League game since a defeat by Aston Villa in 2008 and Pellegrini`s frontmen will be expected to continue that run against Newcastle on Monday.

"I do not know my team yet because on Thursday all the players that played for their national squad arrived back. I am not 100 percent sure," Pellegrini said.

"We have four important strikers, that is why they are here in this squad as we want them for the whole season.

"I do not worry who plays on Monday or next Sunday. We have four strikers because I think we need four strikers. We will see who is the best for each match."

Matija Nastasic is City`s only injury problem ahead of the visit of Newcastle.

The defender picked up an ankle injury in July`s Asia Trophy in Hong Kong and was expected to be out for six weeks but while the 20-year-old Serb will miss the opening Premier League game, he could be in contention for next week`s trip to Cardiff.

Newcastle, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, are looking to halt an unwanted run of seven successive defeats against City, a sequence that stretches back to October 2008.

But they head to Manchester with several injury worries.

French forward Loic Remy, the new arrival on a season-long loan from QPR, is likely to miss the first month of the campaign with a calf injury.

Italian full-back Davide Santon is struggling with a hip problem, defender Steven Taylor required an injection in a toe injury, and Argentinian midfielder Jonas Gutierrez has a hamstring strain.

However, Magpies boss Alan Pardew welcomes back Tim Krul, with the Dutch keeper set to make his first Premier League start since April after recovering from shoulder surgery.

Pardew is happy for the pressure to be off his side after their struggles last season, but he remains in the market for further attacking reinforcements, with Remy currently Newcastle`s only pre-season signing.

"We`re starting with a clean slate and it possibly suits us a bit more that there`s less expected of us this year than last," Pardew said.

"We must not bury our head in the sand about what happened last year, we must understand we had problems and find solutions.

"But at the same time when we finished fifth two years ago it was very important that you`re not thinking you`ve arrived and everything is going to be hunky-dory, because obviously it wasn`t for us.

"We think there were problems in the squad last year and we need to address those. We need to carry more of a goal threat."

AFP



First Published: Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 14:25

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