Football: Pellegrini backs Mangala to prove his worth

Football: Pellegrini backs Mangala to prove his worth

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini remains confident Eliaquim Mangala is suited to the Premier League despite the France defender's poor performance in the champions' 4-2 win at Hull.

Mangala scored an own goal and conceded a penalty at the KC Stadium on Saturday as City surrendered the 2-0 advantage they had gained after just 11 minutes through Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

The former Porto centre-back headed Liam Rosenior's cross into his own goal before bringing down Abel Hernandez with an untidy challenge in the penalty area.

Hernandez scored the resulting spot-kick to make it 2-2 before Dzeko and Frank Lampard netted to seal City's victory.

Mangala, who joined City for £32 million (S$66.26 million) in the close-season, was a little more solid in the second half and Pellegrini took heart from that recovery and the player's stronger showing against Chelsea last Sunday.

"You cannot analyse a player in one match," Pellegrini said. "The last match he played was wonderful and everyone was saying he's the best defender in the world.

"Now he has conceded an own goal and a penalty. I think the own goal made Mangala a bit nervous and then he gave away the penalty.

"But he became calmer after half-time and played a good second half. It is not fair to analyse a player on the strength of just one game.

"He is only a young player, but not too young for the Premier League. He has a lot of experience.

"He has been a champion three times and played a lot in the Champions League, played for France and won titles in Portugal.

"He was wonderful for us against Chelsea last week and he will continue to play in our team."

Influential Lampard 

After a run of three Premier League matches without a win, City looked in danger of losing more ground on leaders Chelsea on Saturday before David Silva set up Dzeko for his second goal.

As Hull pushed forward in search of an equaliser, the visitors broke through Pablo Zabaleta, who set up substitute Lampard to score his fourth goal in three matches.

The 36-year-old former Chelsea midfielder is on loan from New York City FC until at least January and Pellegrini believes his influence could help the champions retain their crown.

"Frank signed with us because I was absolutely sure that he was an important player and would continue to be," Pellegrini said.

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