Manchester City vs Manchester United: Manuel Pellegrini admits fears over wobbly finish but takes delight in derby victory

City sat back and allowed United back into the game after Sergio Aguero scored but Pellegrini was happy enough with the three points

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The Independent Football

Manchester City will hope to have kick-started their season after emerging victorious from a frenetic derby against 10-man United.

Sergio Aguero netted the only goal in the second half of a hectic Barclays Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium to hand City the 1-0 victory their overall superiority deserved.

After three games without a win across three competitions going into the match, there was a feeling Manuel Pellegrini's men were lacking sparkle and starting to falter.

But victory amid the volatile derby atmosphere could provide just the spur they need ahead of a crucial Champions League encounter with CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.


Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: "I think that first of all the most important thing is to win the derby and during the match I think we played very well.

"After we scored the goal we lost possession of the ball and we dropped back too much because we don't know how to play in that way, but I understand it in a game of that importance.

"It's not the way we must finish games but finally we won the game and that's the important thing."

The opening was scrappy but the momentum of the game swung firmly City's way six minutes before half-time when United defender Chris Smalling was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Smalling, who had needlessly been given a first yellow card for attempting to prevent goalkeeper Joe Hart kicking from hand, gave referee Michael Oliver little alternative as he took down James Milner.

City went on to dominate and United's threadbare defence struggled to contain them but it was not until the 63rd minute that Aguero lashed in his 12th goal of the campaign.

City could have put the game out of sight before United rallied in the final 20 minutes, but they felt aggrieved not to have been awarded any penalties.

Pellegrini shouts instructions to his City players in the win over United

Oliver turned down four appeals, three of which looked to be strong claims. Two of those were for possible fouls on Aguero by the clumsy Marouane Fellaini while Marcos Rojo kicking Yaya Toure seemed the most blatant of the lot.

Pellegrini said: "I think we played really well and had clear chances to score and had penalties that it was unbelievable they were not whistled for. Against Yaya Toure that was a penalty and a sending-off.

"There were two others against Sergio but we are not talking about that because the referee made his decisions and the important thing is not to be confused in that moment.

"But I don't want to repeat (complaints) about the referee because I did it just once at Arsenal and it's not the way to do it. It's a very difficult profession to be a referee."

Aguero celebrates scoring the winning goal against United

The result lifted champions City back within six points of leaders Chelsea.

Attention now switches back to the Champions League as they seek a first win of their Group E campaign against CSKA Moscow.