LONDON, August 29 – Bacary Sagna believes Manchester City can complete a clean sweep of trophies this season as the French defender prepares to make his debut in the champions’ Premier League clash against Stoke on Saturday.
Sagna moved to Eastlands on a free transfer from Arsenal in the close-season and the right-back is confident he will win far more silverware with City than he did in north London.
City landed the Premier League title and the League Cup last season, convincing Sagna that his new club could win a historic quadruple over the next nine months.
“We want to win everything but we know how difficult it will be,” Sagna said.
“I can promise the City fans I will work hard and never give less than 100 per cent when I play.
“We are the Premier League champions and we know everyone will want to beat us, but we will be ready.”
City manager Manuel Pellegrini is poised to hand Sagna, who has been building up his fitness since the World Cup, his first start against Stoke and allow current first choice Pablo Zabaleta to take a break.
But Sagna knows it will be a tough ask for him to claim the City right-back spot on a permanent basis ahead of the superb Argentine.
“I know it will be very difficult to get into the team, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” Sagna said.
“I’m not here to fight with Pablo. I am here to be part of the team and to contribute whenever I am called upon.
“Pablo is one of the best right-backs in the Premier League and he can defend and attack very well. He is very decisive when he goes forward and, as I say, is a great player.
“The fact is we want to win all competitions we are playing in and that could mean one game every three or four days.
“Your body needs time to recover and if there are two players for every position, it is easier to alternate as and when needed to keep the team fresh.
“I can’t wait to get going. When you come into a team like this it’s not hard to motivate yourself.”
– fitness check –
Pellegrini will check on the fitness of Edin Dzeko who limped out of City’s 3-1 win over Liverpool with a thigh injury, while fellow striker Alvaro Negredo is still some way of returning from a broken foot.
Stoke look set to be able to call upon Spanish striker Bojan Krkic, who returned to training on Thursday following a rib injury.
However right back Phil Bardsley (knee) is doubtful while Geoff Cameron (side strain) is out as the Potters look to score a goal at Eastlands for the first time.
“Phil has not trained today (Thursday), he was with the physios and we will hope he will train tomorrow,” Stoke boss Mark Hughes said.
“Bojan trained and we hope he will be available. Geoff Cameron should be out for a couple of weeks.”
The trip to Manchester sees Hughes come face to face with the club he managed from 2008 to 2009 and former City boss is impressed by his old team’s start to the season.
“City are an outstanding team,” he added. “I saw them against Liverpool and they were very impressive.
“It’s easy to look at their squad and see how strong they are.
“I enjoy taking my teams there. It’s always a challenge, you see all the changes and it is a very vibrant place.
“The owners have come in and made a huge difference. I always enjoy going back.
“It’s important to be in a confident mood and our performance in the 3-0 win against Portsmouth in the League Cup will give us more confidence.”