Football Football

Pellegrini side-steps Toure agent row


TOURE-WEST-HAMMANCHESTER, April 20- Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini refused to be drawn into a war of words with Yaya Toure’s outspoken agent after a 2-0 win over West Ham kept his side on course for a Champions League place.

However, Sunday’s victory at Eastlands was marred by an injury to David Silva, who was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured cheekbone and injured collar bone.

But before kick-off there was another headache for under-pressure City boss Pellegrini following incendiary comments from Dimitri Seluk.

Toure’s agent branded Pellegrini a “weak manager” and accused the club’s Spanish executives Ferran Sorriano and Txiki Begiristain of failing to take responsibility and blaming his client for City’s problems this season.

Pellegrini, when asked to respond to Seluk’s claims, would only say “no comment”.

But the latest potential disagreement with Toure will only cast more uncertainty on the the Ivory Coast international’s City future.

Pellegrini was more forthcoming about the injury to Silva, who was taken off on a stretcher in the 75th minute after being caught by an elbow from Cheikhou Kouyate, who was booked for the incident.

“It looks serious but we must wait,” said Pellegrini. “He (Silva) is in hospital now having checks on his cheekbone to see what happened with him.

“I always think that a player doesn’t want to make damage to another player and the referee was so near and decided it was unintentional. I always think these things are unintentional. I don’t think a player wants to cause more damage to another player.

“I don’t know if he was unconscious. At the moment, the doctor has some doubts about that. After that, he recovered well,” the Chilean added.

– ‘Pretty innocuous’ –

City officials later insisted the visit to hospital was precautionary, with Silva having injured his collar bone after falling awkwardly.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was also at pains to clear Kouyate of any deliberate wrong-doing in the incident.

“It was accidental, pretty innocuous,” Allardyce said. “In fact I didn’t even think it was a free-kick. I’ve just had a look on video and it doesn’t look deliberate at all to me.

“He (Kouyate) has no idea what happened because it happened behind him, he doesn’t think he’s done anything.”

Victory for reigning English champions City — coupled with defeats 24 hours earlier for Southampton and Manchester United — certainly improved Pellegrini’s hopes of a top four finish.

West Ham were beaten thanks to a James Collins own-goal and City forward Sergio Aguero’s 20th goal of the season as Pellegrini’s men bounced back from the previous weekend’s 4-2 derby defeat by United.

“We’re not depending on what Manchester United or anyone else did yesterday,” said Pellegrini.

“It was very important for our team to win because we are coming off two defeats in a row and always when it’s a derby defeat, it’s worse.”

Meanwhile, Allardyce was angry at the manner of the two first-half goals conceded by his defence but also infuriated by a late incident in which Eliaquim Mangala took a swipe at West Ham winger Downing, who remained on his feet but saw the ball run out of play, breaking up a late attack by the visitors.

“Everybody goes on about simulation and cheating,” said Allardyce who berated the fourth official after the incident. “But Mangala tried to clean out Downing who stayed on his feet and, because of that, the ball runs out and we lose possession.

“The assistant is one yard away but didn’t give it so what am I going to say to Stewart? ‘Dive on the floor, get him booked and get us a free-kick’?”