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Saturday August 31, 2013 MYT 12:12:01 AM
Saturday August 31, 2013 MYT 12:12:22 AM
Wigan Athletic's Callum McManaman (L) is challenged by Manchester City's Matija Nastasic during their FA Cup final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London May 11, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples
(Reuters) - Manchester City's battered defence was boosted on Friday by the return of centre back Matija Nastasic following injury in time for this weekend's Premier League match at home to Hull City.
Last season's runners-up suffered a shock 3-2 defeat by Cardiff City on Sunday after having to field a makeshift partnership of Joleon Lescott and midfielder Javi Garcia in the heart of defence with Nastasic and Vincent Kompany sidelined.
"Matija is available to play tomorrow," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told a news conference on the eve of Saturday's game (12.45 p.m. British time).
"I think Javi Garcia didn't do a bad job as he normally plays in midfield. But it is Nastasic's natural position, so of course it is better we have him there."
Captain Kompany has been ruled out for around a month with a groin injury he suffered in their opening match against Newcastle United.
Having stormed to an electrifying 4-0 win in that game, where they attacked relentlessly and with real threat, City were undone against Cardiff by two headers from corners late in the match.
Pellegrini said his side had been working this week on that part of their game to avoid being tripped up by another of the promoted teams.
"Set pieces are very important and we must learn from last week," the Chilean said.
"It was a bad game for us in that way, but we must improve for our next game.
"I think Hull have started well, they played very well against Chelsea. We will have to mark a very difficult team here also, so we will have to play very well."
(Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Toby Davis)
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