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Pressure is not an issue for Pellegrini

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has no doubt his team can handle the pressure of expectation.

City have made a confident start to their Premier League title defence with back-to-back victories. Monday's 3-1 win over last season's runners-up Liverpool emphasised their strength in depth.

Stevan Jovetic, who missed most of last season through injury, struck twice while star striker Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score for a second successive game.

New signings, particularly midfielder Fernando, have enhanced City's squad but none of this is news to Pellegrini, who was confident from the outset of his squad's power.

The Chilean said: "That expectation does not depend on one game against Liverpool - it depends always. We are a strong team, the same as five or six other clubs in England. We don't have a problem with that expectation. We need to win and we will try to win always."

Despite that confidence, Pellegrini is taking nothing for granted as former City boss Mark Hughes brings his Stoke side to the Etihad Stadium today.

City have a superb home record against the Potters, having won the last seven encounters, but, for Pellegrini, that counts for nothing.

He said: "In the first two games they have just one draw but I am sure they are going to come here to try and do a tough game, and we need to play very well if we are to win."

New signing Eliaquim Mangala, who has lacked match-fitness since his £32million arrival from Porto, has again been ruled out.

Frank Lampard, on loan from sister club New York City, is also not in contention for similar reasons.