Manuel Pellegrini hailed a "very special" night as the Manchester City manager began his Etihad tenure with an impressive 4-0 win over Newcastle United. But his delight was tempered by the groin problem suffered by Vincent Kompany which could rule his captain out for more than a fortnight.
"Always the first match is special," said Pellegrini, who had watched as David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri gave City an emphatic win in his first Premier League game. "This is a very special night for me and very important to win for the trust of the team. I don't think it is a dream start – it is a very good start. I was very confident the team would play well. We worked very hard during pre-season, trying another style of football, and maybe we can continue improving every week but for the first match I think we did it very well."
Newcastle were clearly unsettled by Arsenal's £10m bid for Yohan Cabaye, with the midfielder left out of the squad, while Steven Taylor's red card just before half-time reduced them to 10 men. But by that point City were already 2-0 ahead. "The most pleasing aspect is the way the team played for 90 minutes, not winning by one or two or three goals," Pellegrini said. "We had from the beginning the attitude to play as an aggressive team, as an offensive team, and we continued to attack during the 90 minutes. That is very important. The most important thing always is to win but after it is the way we did it."
Pellegrini was also content with the performances of Jesús Navas and Fernandinho, two of his summer signings. "We were happy with both of them. Navas and Fernandinho played well. They are different players, Navas is a winger, Fernandinho worked the whole match without the ball and with the ball. He played really well and I'm sure that when Negredo and Jovetic [his two other recruits] play 90 minutes they will do well. I'm very happy with the squad we have for this season. We need all of them and for both of them it was important to play well in the first match that they played."
The evening was tarnished only by an injury to Kompany, who after limping off with 20 minutes to play will join Matija Nastasic and Micah Richards in being unavailable for Sunday's trip to Cardiff City, leaving Pellegrini without his first-choice centre-back pairing and with only Joleon Lescott fit to step into the position. "Really I can't tell you exactly what happened with him," Pellegrini said of Kompany. "Tomorrow the doctor will say but I think it is a serious injury, maybe for one or two weeks," Pellegrini said.
Following the win a tweet from the account of Richards, who can play at full-back and centre-half, said: "Micah missed out tonight after picking up a hamstring strain in training but he'll be back in action in a few weeks."
Regarding Cabaye, Alan Pardew now feels Newcastle have been put in the same situation as Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, who have all had to fend off unwanted interest in key players this summer.
The Newcastle manager believes the transfer window regulations need to be reconsidered so the uncertainty stops before the season starts. "You put him in the Suárez and Bale situation," he said. "There is a question about the window being closed before we kick off the Premier League season. I know the Premier League asked the European leagues to do it and they wouldn't fall in line but after the summer we have had, the situations we have had, with Rooney as well, it is definitely something they need to put under the microscope again."
Pardew claimed that Taylor's red card turned the game. "The sending-off was completely out of character for Steven and he has apologised. He is an honest player and made a mistake and we had to suffer the penalty for that. Up until then we had given a very good account of ourselves, against a very good side. We tried to be positive and threaten the goal a few times. After the sending off we were digging in and the spirit and the commitment the guys showed I was quite proud of them in the second half."