Football

Pellegrini satisfied and backs Jovetic to come good

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini thinks Stevan Jovetic is set for an excellent campaign this season.

The Montenegro forward joined City from Fiorentina for £22 million ($46.3m) last summer, but was plagued by illness and injury during a disappointing first season with the club.

But he has looked sharp in pre-season, scoring four times in two games in the International Champions Cup, including a brace in yesterday's loss to Liverpool, which finished 2-2 before the Reds won on penalties.

Pellegrini said: "I have said before that Stevan is a very important player for us, and he proved again what an asset he can be.

"He had a number of different injuries last season, but now he is fully fit.

"I'm sure if he continues in this way he will show why he is here. If he's fit all the year, he will be a very important player for us."

Despite the shoot-out loss, Pellegrini was satisfied with his team's overall performance, in front of a 49,000-strong crowd in New York's Yankee Stadium.

"I'm very happy because it was a good, competitive game and useful for both teams," he said.

"We played well for the first 45 minutes, when 0-0 didn't reflect exactly what happened.

"We played well in the second half, though Joe Hart made some very good saves and we missed some good chances especially when the score was 2-1. Then we had the penalties...

MOST IMPORTANT

"We are preparing for the Community Shield and the Premier League, and that is the most important thing.

"Overall, I am very happy with our preparations. The five players who arrived on Thursday will be ready for the Premier League, and the rest of the players will arrive next Monday.

"They can be fit in maybe 15 days, but we will assess things as we go along."

City's Premier League defence begins against Newcastle United on Aug 17. ­- Wire Services.