Pitch not to blame for Nastasic injury, says Manchester City boss Pellegrini

The Serbian was stretchered off during Saturday's Asia Trophy win over Sunderland but the Chilean says that the knock was caused by a tackle rather than the wet conditions
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says that atrocious conditions did not cause an ankle injury to Matija Nastasic in Hong Kong.

The Serbian was stretchered off the sodden pitch during the second half of City's 1-0 Asia Trophy triumph over Sunderland.

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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 [on Sunday] when we arrive back in Manchester," Pellegrini told reporters after the game. "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."

Edin Dzeko's ninth-minute goal was the difference between the two sides but the manager highlighted the efforts of new faces Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas.

"I know Negredo very well," Pellegrini added. "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]."

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Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio was enthused by his side's performance despite the 1-0 loss but admits that 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," the Italian observed. "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 over-training 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 [the night before], 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."