LONDON: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has defended his decision to omit English players from his line-up for the Community Shield defeat by Arsenal.
Four English players made the City bench at Wembley on Sunday but an all-foreign starting XI reflected Pellegrini’s recent transfer deals.
Of all Pellegrini’s summer signings, only Frank Lampard hails from England.
“In every competitive squad, it’s difficult for all the players to have a chance in the XI,” Pellegrini said.
England midfielder Jack Rodwell left City for Sunderland last week, lamenting a lack of first-team opportunities in the two years since his £12m move from Everton.
Into City’s midfield this summer has come Argentina’s Bruno Zuculini and Brazil’s Fernando, although Lampard’s arrival on a loan deal from New York City until January maintains an English presence.
City’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart, meanwhile, has come under threat from the arrival of Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who started on Sunday, while Pellegrini has added French duo Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna to his defensive ranks.
But the Chilean boss has defended his right to select whatever team he wants.
“Why do you always talk about Manchester City? Arsenal won the FA Cup with one England player,” Pellegrini said.
Manuel Pellegrini’s new boys
Willy Caballero – from Malaga. £4.4m
Frank Lampard – from New York City. Loan
Bruno Zuculini – from Racing Club. Undisclosed
Eliaquim Mangala – from FC Porto. £32m
Bacary Sagna – from Arsenal. Free
Fernando – from FC Porto. £12m
“We’ve had a lot of problems with Financial Fair Play, but we bought some very important players.
“I don’t know what the difference is between Hart and Caballero and Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, or Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov.
“I always pick the best team for every game. We have a strong squad with two good players in each position.”