Pellegrini cautions against weight of expectation

Manchester City manager warns ‘it’s impossible to be sure’ of victory against visiting Aston Villa

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “We have experienced players, they’ve been a similar situation two years ago.”

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “We have experienced players, they’ve been a similar situation two years ago.”


Manuel Pellegrini has admitted Premier League favourites Manchester City could yet slip up in their final two matches of the season despite seeing Liverpool held to a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Brendan Rodgers’ team were 3-0 ahead with 11 minutes remaining before Palace scored three times. Liverpool now lead City by a point, although City have a game in hand which they play tonight against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium. They will, however, be without the injured Sergio Aguero, who is a doubt for Sunday’s final day meeting with West Ham United.

Pellegrini cited Liverpool’s experience at Selhurst Park as a lesson and conceded City will have their work cut out gaining maximum points in their two games. Three weeks ago Sunderland managed a 2-2 draw at the Etihad and the manager admitted a similar result could occur.

“It’s impossible to be sure. We don’t know what can happen in any game,” he said. “Against Sunderland it was strange because they drew against us at home. But when you look at what Sunderland did after - winning at Chelsea and Manchester United - maybe it wasn’t such a bad result. Maybe with that point we are able to win the title. We are going to have a difficult game and I hope the whole squad is ready. Against Sunderland we played three days after the defeat against Liverpool [3-2, at Anfield] - at the moment I think the (mood) of the squad is different. But we are not just thinking just because we are playing at home we are going to win.”

Of Liverpool’s result, he said: “It’s a good lesson for everyone. No one knows what will happen in football - that’s why it’s the most important sport. It depends on a lot of things, not just what you can do. Liverpool were winning 3-0 but the score changed. It’s not just a lesson for this moment - football is always the same.”

The Chilean is confident that his squad can deal with the expectation. “We have experienced players, they’ve been a similar situation two years ago. We have the pressure to win, but we’ve had it the whole year. From the beginning of the season I always said that this team wants to win the title. Now we will try to do it.”

Of Aguero, who injured his groin in the 3-2 win at Everton, he said: “He couldn’t recover 100% from his groin problem, so he is not in the squad list.” The 28-goal striker has a chance to face West Ham. “Maybe he can have some chances we will see the way he improves during the week. It was not 100% sure if he was completely fit for (Villa) that is why I didn’t want to have a risk with him but we will see during the week if he can play on Sunday.”
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