Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini blamed his team’s 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea on key player absences, particularly holding midfielder Fernandinho, who is likely to be sidelined for two weeks after sustaining a muscle injury prior to Monday night’s clash at the Etihad. In addition to Fernandinho, City was also without striker Sergio Aguero, playmaker Samir Nasri, and holding midfielder Javi Garcia, while James Milner, only just back from injury, was an unused substitute.
"The only option I had was [defender Martin] Demichelis. That is why Fernandinho's injury was so important, I had to change the defense," Pellegrini said. I put all the players that were in the condition to play [on the field], that is why I did not make the other two changes." The Chilean noted that it was not a must-win game for his team. "For Chelsea it was a decisive game, not for us. If we had won, we [would have been] six points ahead of them," he explained.
The loss was City’s first defeat at home this season. City is now second-place in the Premier League table with 53 points, two points behind leader Arsenal. Chelsea is third, level on points with City, but with an inferior goal difference.