Saturday 3 December 2016

Manuel Pellegrini untroubled by Manchester City's form on the road

Published 30/12/2015 | 04:36

Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City side are without an away win in the Barclays Premier League in six outings
Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City side are without an away win in the Barclays Premier League in six outings

Manchester City's struggles away from home are not worrying manager Manuel Pellegrini.

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Following Tuesday night's goalless draw against Leicester, Pellegrini's team are without an away win in the Barclays Premier League in six outings since a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on September 12.

It is the club's worst run on the road since 2011 but thanks to their home form - City have won eight of their 10 games at the Etihad, losing twice - they head into 2016 third in the table and just three points behind leaders Arsenal and second-placed Leicester.

Pellegrini does not think his side's away results matter too much as long as City are achieving their goals.

''I don't divide the games that we play away or home,'' he said. ''I think that we have a system and it is very important when we play to get the amount of points needed to win the title.

''Maybe if you reduce the last games that we are playing away, we are not winning. We need to win but we are the best team to play at home.

''In the second half of the season we will continue improving. If you ask me are we happy so far? Yes, because we are near the points needed to be top of the table, we are playing in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and we have qualified in the Champions League.

''I don't think it is a good idea to divide up the games into away and home.''

Sergio Aguero started against Leicester as he continues to be eased back in only his second appearance since returning from injury.

The Argentinian striker cut a forlorn figure at times at the King Power Stadium and was still obviously short of match sharpness, although Pellegrini expects his talisman to hit top form again soon.

''We know him and we know from before that he needs two or three games to return to his normal performance,'' said the City boss. ''At this minute he is playing but I didn't want him to play more than 65 minutes."

With their title credential under the microscope after defeat at Liverpool on Boxing Day, Leicester responded with a typically hard-working performance and were a match for City.

After successive matches against two of the biggest clubs in the land, Claudio Ranieri's men host Bournemouth on Saturday - but the Italian insists that will be the tougher fixture.

''Believe me, the next match is more difficult,'' said Ranieri. ''Bournemouth press well and they played very well at Arsenal. It will be a difficult match.

"For me, it is important to think about Bournemouth and what we can do for the next month. It's not easy for us but we want to fight with everybody. It is fantastic what we're doing.

"We play Bournemouth, Tottenham twice, Stoke, but we are ready to fight."

Press Association

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