Manuel Pellegrini expects Aston Villa to be more motivated than ever against Manchester City following the appointment of Remi Garde as manager.
The former Lyon boss was named as sacked Tim Sherwood’s successor on November 2 and will take charge of the team for the first time when the Premier League leaders visit Villa Park on Saturday.
Pellegrini admits he knows little about what to expect from his opposite number but is wary of the impact a new manager can have on a playing squad.
“There are no easy games in the Premier League, especially against Aston Villa,” he said on Friday.
“Always when you have a new manager, you have some reaction. They’re at the bottom, they have a new manager, so they have the motivation not to be relegated.
“He [Garde] was at Carrington two years ago but I don’t know him too much.
“He was a friend of Patrick Vieira’s so he wanted to talk about football and working – he’s a young, experienced manager at an important club like Lyon. I am sure, after this game, he will have a good career at Villa.
“I spoke with the players and we talked about doing what we did against Sevilla. We can’t just think we can do the same this time unless we have the same concentration – it will be a tough game.”
Former City defender Micah Richards is in line to face his former club and Pellegrini admits the 27-year-old’s time at the Etihad Stadium was a frustrating one.
“Unfortunately for Micah, who was an important player for this team as he came through the youth ranks, he had so many injuries while he was here, in the one season with me,” the Chilean added.
“After that he went to Italy and then went to Villa. He’s an important player, as he was with us.”