Pellegrini sets new year target
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini accepts his team must now deliver away to make good on a challenge to reach top spot by new year.
Pellegrini revealed in his programme notes prior to his side's 3-0 win over Swansea in the Barclays Premier League that he wanted to begin 2014 at the summit.
"I would like to arrive at the new year in first place but if that is not possible, then no more than three points from the number one position," he wrote.
City lived up to that bullish statement as they secured an ultimately comfortable victory over the Swans at the Etihad Stadium thanks to a Samir Nasri double and Alvaro Negredo free-kick.
The win lifted them up to third in the table and maintained their 100 per cent home record.
The priority is now to carry that form into away performances, starting with next week's trips to West Brom and Southampton, after losing four times on the road this season.
Asked if he was confident of reaching the top during December, Pellegrini said: "I can answer your question after we finish the two games we are going to play away.
"I have a lot of trust in this team. We have to play six more Premier League games during December.
"We hope we can do it, it will be very important for us.
"We are six points behind Arsenal, that is too much.
"We will try to cut this, but if Arsenal continue winning it is not easy.
"It will be difficult but if you can't be top a good target for our team is to be three points behind."
After thrashing Tottenham 6-0 last week, City looked in the mood for more goals as they tore into Swansea early on and went ahead through Negredo after just eight minutes.
But Swansea responded and dominated the remainder of the first half.
They should at least have been level by the interval but Jonathan de Guzman put a good chance over.
City upped the tempo after the break and eased to victory with goals from Nasri in the 58th and 77th minutes.
Nasri, after toiling last season, is enjoying a rich vein of form but Pellegrini insists there is no magic formula to his revival.
He said: "I think Samir played very well, especially the second half. He also played very well in the Champion League.
"He is playing free, he is happy and he feels again he is an important player.
"The way he plays maybe is very comfortable for him also."
Pellegrini was happy with his side's second-half display.
He said: "I am very pleased because we won against a very strong team. It is not easy to play against them.
"They have a lot of possession of the ball.
"We played too quickly in the first half after the goal. We lost too many balls and they started attacking but in those moments we defended very well.
"That was important. I just remember one clear chance of Swansea in the first half.
"In the second half we improved with the ball. We scored two goals more and we had three or four clear chances."
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup felt his players could be pleased with their performance despite the scoreline.
The Dane said: "I think it is a little strange to stand up here after a game you lost 3-0 and feel we did many things right.
"I think we played very well in the first half and even at the start of the second half.
"But to win against teams like this, especially when you play at their home, you have to take the few chances you get and keep on playing.
"But I think we did well until the third goal, and after that the game was over.
"It is a strange feeling. Of course I am not happy we lost 3-0 but on the other hand I am not really disappointed because I think the players did what they could, what they should."