Follow foot-step: Manuel Pellegrini backs Eliaquim Mangala to follow Martin Demichelis


France international centre-back Mangala joined the Premier League champions from Porto in August in a long-anticipated transfer reported to be worth in the region of £32million.

Despite an impressive debut in a 1-1 draw against title rivals Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in September, a number of high-profile errors mean the 23-year-old has endured a testing start to life in England’s top flight.

Having turned in an initially commanding display in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Everton, Mangala endured a torrid time under pressure from home striker Romelu Lukaku.

Injuries have restricted City captain Vincent Kompany to a solitary appearance since November, meaning Mangala has regularly been paired with Demichelis ” a player who suffered a similarly fraught introduction to life in Manchester before becoming a pivotal figure in last season’s dramatic title run-in.

“I always analyse individual performances with the players,” Pellegrini said, having watched Steven Naismith cancel out Fernandinho’s 74th-minute opener at Goodison Park.

“I hope that he will repeat what Demichelis did last year. He improved and he was a very important player.”

Saturday’s result means City are two points behind Chelsea at the Premier League summit once more.

Pellegrini’s men were unable to make a dominant first-half display count as a more even contest developed after half-time, meaning the sight of top scorer Sergio Aguero returning from the bench on Merseyside following a five-week knee injury was a welcome one.

“Sergio worked two or three days with the squad this week,” Pellegrini added.

“Now he has the whole week to continue working, so I hope he will return in a few days to the same performance he had before he was injured.”

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