Petr Cech felt we were undone by being reduced to 10 men in Sunday’s Community Shield, but that positives can be taken into the week ahead.
A midweek round of international friendlies mean Roberto Di Matteo will not get the chance to work with his full squad again until at least Thursday, just three days before our Barclays Premier League opener at Wigan on Sunday.
Despite defeat, Cech feels we gave a good account of ourselves at Villa Park, against league champions Manchester City.
‘We had quite a good first half, we went 1-0 up and it was an equal, interesting game for the first one of the season, but then unfortunately the red card happened and in the second half they took advantage of having a man more,’ reflected the goalkeeper.
‘We now have the most unfortunate international break, which is not ideal but the players go off, then we come back and the season starts on Sunday.
‘We can take positives from this game but hopefully next week we will be fitter and sharper, Manchester City was a step forward and I am sure we will be ready for Wigan.’
Branislav Ivanovic’s red card shortly before half-time occurred just after Fernando Torres had put us in front.
‘I saw Iva going in for the ball but his leg was over the ball, so it was a bit high and if he caught him, then it’s a red card, that’s what the referees have told us in meetings we have had,’ Cech said. ‘There was no intention to hurt the player, but the tackle happened and so it was probably a red card.’
Three second-half City goals were to follow, making it an unhappy afternoon. Cech commended our opponents for their impressive finishing, but admitted to being unsighted for Yaya Toure’s equaliser.
‘One of our players tried to go in to block the ball, which meant I couldn’t see where the ball was and it just took a fraction of time away from me, and he struck it really well,’ he explained. ‘They scored three good goals.’