Pellegrini in optimistic mood
Published 21/04/2014 | 08:57
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini feels confident his players will not suffer a hangover from their last result when they host West Brom this evening.
Pellegrini claimed after City were held to a surprise 2-2 home draw by Sunderland - the Barclays Premier League's bottom side - on Wednesday that his men had still had the disappointment of their 3-2 defeat at table-toppers Liverpool from the previous Sunday on their minds.
But asked if he thought it would be difficult to lift the spirits in the camp for the Albion contest, the Chilean said: "No.
"I think it was more difficult between Liverpool and Sunderland. Now we have more time for the team to recover.
"I think that we are all conscious that we cannot play in the same way that we played against Sunderland.
"And I think it will not be so difficult (to raise players' spirits) as for the last game."
The results against Sunderland and Liverpool have dealt significant blows to City's title challenge.
They go into tonight's encounter lying third in the table, nine points behind Liverpool, albeit with the Reds having only three more games to go and Pellegrini's men five.
West Brom, meanwhile, are in a quite different situation but just as eager to pick up points.
They are 16th, three points clear of the relegation zone with five more matches to go, two more than the three sides directly below them.
Baggies boss Pepe Mel is studying the table and fixtures list as much as any manager as he tries to assess his side's prospects of avoiding the drop - but he has stressed the key focus for Albion must be on themselves.
When asked ahead of the City game if he was one for scrutinising the standings and trying to work out various permutations, Spaniard Mel said: ''Yes.
''And I imagine another 10 or 12 managers are possibly doing the same - both those at the top and the bottom of the league.
''But what we really need to worry about most is ourselves.''
West Brom defender Jonas Olsson (Achilles) and midfielder James Morrison (ankle) are doubts for Monday's match, as is City playmaker David Silva (ankle).
Pellegrini has revealed winger Jesus Navas has also been struggling with an ankle knock, and the game will come too soon for midfielder Yaya Toure to return after his leg injury.
Defender Matija Nastasic, out of action since February because of a knee complaint, remains unavailable.
Regarding Nastasic, Pellegrini said: "He's working better - he worked on Friday with the whole squad.
"I think that over the next few days he will be ready to start working without any problem."