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Manuel Pellegrini has a fully fit squad. How does he know? Because his trusty Argentinian valet, Ruben Cousillas, has just told him so.
“Sergio Aguero is fit?” asks an incredulous Pellegrini. “Yes,” says Ruben, “Would you like your toast buttered against the grain or with the grain?”
Manuel turns over to face Ruben and, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, tries to come to terms with this startling piece of news.
“You bring me breakfast in bed and tell me that I have a fully fit squad, what’s the catch?” Manuel is starting to get a little suspicious now, too many good things are happening in one day, and he’s only been awake for two minutes.
“There is no catch, just like the toilet doors at the Etihad.” soothes Ruben, for he knows his boss of old. All this good news is likely to have a very negative effect on Manuel.
“And David Silva? He is also fit?”
“Yes, he is running the New York marathon as we speak, but he will be back in time for kick-off.” Cousillas is beginning to wonder what he has to do to convince Manuel of the fitness of his players.
“Against the grain,” decides Pellegrini after much thought.

At this moment there is a knock on the door and Ruben leaps from his bedside chair to answer it.
“Come in Vincent, what can we do for you this fine morning?” asks Cousillas as Vincent Kompany strides confidently, as a captain would do, into the room.
“I’ve just come to let you know that I was wrong to play for Belgium whilst I was recovering from injury and it won’t happen again.”
Manuel takes a bite out of his toast and gestures for Ruben to pour him a cup of coffee. “Did you hear that Ruben? Vinnie has seen the error of his ways and is repentant, what a man! That’s why I made him captain you know.”
“Thanks Mister Pellegrini, I don’t know what came over me and I can’t thank you enough for understanding. Of course you realise it was all that Marc Wilmots’ fault. He said that if I didn’t play for my country I would be exiled to the Congo and would never see my wife and children again. Much as I like the Congo and need a break from my wife, I think I would miss the kids so, like a fool, I played.”

By this time Manuel was wondering when something awful would happen. In all his time as Manchester City manager, he had never had this much go right for him in one month, never mind one day.

“So Ruben, there must be some bad news, surely. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and all that stuff. What’s the bad things? Come on, spill. What is it? What’s the bad news? There has to be some, come on you can tell me.”
Ruben looked at him despairingly. Then he looked over at Vincent Kompany, who was helping himself to coffee and craquelin, which he had thoughtfully brought with him from his recent trip to Brussels.
“Vincent, will you please tell Mister Pellegrini that everything in the garden is rosy. All is hunky dory. There is nothing to worry about. Things could not be going any more smoothly and he should stop looking for trouble.”
Vinnie looked back at Ruben. His mouth could not have been fuller. The last, and largest, piece of the craquelin was just disappearing along with a large slurp of coffee. He shook his head to indicate that he was not in a fit state to be conveying messages to superiors.
“Forget it Vinnie,” said Manuel, “I got the message and I’m very grateful to have you two as such trustworthy lieutenants, what about Yaya Toure?”
“He has decided he doesn’t like birthday cake and has apologised, saying that it was unfair of him to ask for it AFTER his birthday last year,” answers Cousillas.
“Nasri?”
“Fit as a fiddle.”

This is unbelievable, thinks Manuel to himself, something HAS to go wrong!
Just as this thought flashed through his mind the worst happened.

He woke up for real, in a cold sweat and immediately phoned Ruben Cousillas to find out what was happening, desperately wanting reality to kick in.
“Well boss, Aguero, Silva and Nasri are all still injured. Yaya’s toys need picking up, they are all over the place, something to do with a cake. Oh, and Vincent Kompany says he is going to play for Belgium and there’s nothing you or anybody else can do about it!

Manuel put the phone down, poured a coffee and smiled. Thank God for that! All is right with the world, what a nightmare I just had!

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