Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini wouldn’t change a thing after his side lost 4-2 to Southampton, knowing that the biggest game in the club’s history is lying in wait tomorrow.
Pellegrini said he had no option but to name a much-changed team for Sunday’s Premier League defeat with a Champions League semifinal clash at Real Madrid.
The Chilean rested top goalscorer Sergio Aguero, skipper and defensive rock Vincent Kompany and witwarm winger Kevin de Bruyne at Eastlands.
His weakened City side were ripped apart by the Saints as Sadio Mane hit a hattrick after Shane Long put the Saints 1-0 up in the 25th minute.
But Pellegrini, who will be replaced by Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, says he had no choice.
He says: “I would do exactly the same again because we have an important game on Wednesday, that we play now for the final in the Champions League.
“Maybe if we played on Saturday we could have another option for this game but playing with too many players that are not playing often is difficult.
“I tried to select a team that would win the game. I also had to select a team based on who would play on Wednesday.”
Because of the manner of defeat, the former Real boss is hoping that his charges are not too damaged by the loss in their hunt for a final spot and a top-four league finish.
He adds: “The best way to prepare is to win but we couldn’t do it. I expected more – especially defending. I’m very frustrated because I didn’t expect that performance.
“[Now] it all depends on what we can do in these last two games. We are three points behind Arsenal and if we beat Arsenal we’ll be in third position before the last game.”
As if the pressure wasn’t already crushing, Cristiano Ronaldo has been passed fit for the game at the Bernabeu after missing the first leg of the semifinal with a thigh problem.