Manchester City v Newcastle: Monday night match 'helps us out' says James Milner

Manuel Pellegrini's side will have to watch their rivals get underway over the weekend

Manchester City midfielder James Milner is happy to wait until Monday to launch his season in anger.

City will have to watch their Barclays Premier League title rivals begin their new campaigns over the weekend before they take to the field against Newcastle early next week.

Yet after featuring for England in midweek, while most of the rest of the City squad were also away on international duty, Milner believes the scheduling works to their benefit.

Milner said: "It helps us out, that we play on Monday. Hopefully all the boys come back from internationals fully fit and ready to go."

City will begin the season among the favourites for the title after a summer of quiet but efficient change.

Most of the drama came at the end of last season as Roberto Mancini was sacked as manager despite finishing runner-up in both league and FA Cup.

Since then Manuel Pellegrini has been eased into the managerial hotseat and City have done the bulk of their transfer business early by signing Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic for a combined £90million.

Those changes add to the fresh look at the top end of the Premier League with new managers also coming in at Manchester United and Chelsea.

Milner said: "It's going to be an exciting season. Lots of changes at teams - managers, players, and I think everybody's really excited about what's going to happen.

"We've got a tough game on Monday night, Newcastle, a home game.

"It's always good to get a home game first and hopefully we can get three points."

City have had a mixed pre-season and were beaten in their final friendly against Arsenal in Helsinki last weekend.

But among the positives from the past month has been the form of striker Edin Dzeko, who after struggling to win favour under Mancini has relished the chance to impress Pellegrini.

The Bosnian scored four goals during pre-season and followed up with two for his country in their midweek friendly against the United States.

New signing Negredo also found the net twice for City and then notched again for Spain in Ecuador.

Milner himself feels all the better for his run-out with England against Scotland at Wembley, in which he played the final 23 minutes.

The 27-year-old said: "It's not been an ideal time for a friendly, everybody knows that.

"But we've come away and worked hard for a couple of days and made the best out of it.

"We looked sharp in training and got a good win out of it."

PA

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