Monday 9 December 2019

Pellegrini demands maximum points for rest of year

Jamie Holland

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his team need to claim close to maximum points in the remaining weeks of 2014 if they are to remain in title contention.

Pellegrini sees the end of December as an important staging post in his side's defence of their Premier League crown and he knows they can ill afford to drop many more points.

City return to action against Swansea third in the table, trailing leaders Chelsea by eight points, with 21 to their name from 11 games.

It was at the same stage last season that City's title-winning campaign roared into life as they embarked on a 20-game unbeaten run in all competitions, winning 18 of them.

Pellegrini said: "That of course will be the best thing we can do, but I think December and this week of November are a decisive month for the Premier League. We have eight games. We have 24 more points to try to win.

IMPORTANT

"We have to try to do it, I think that is the only way. Maybe not to be top of the table, because Chelsea are in a very good moment."

City captain Vincent Kompany is poised to return for the visit of the Swans. There could be a temptation not to risk the influential centre-back before Tuesday's crucial Champions League tie against Bayern Munich but Pellegrini insists that game is not yet in his thoughts.

He said: "We are not thinking about Europe. We are thinking about the Premier League."

Fellow defender Eliaquim Mangala has also overcome what Pellegrini described as a "small problem" to make the squad.

The Frenchman is still to make his mark at the club following his £32m summer move from Porto but Pellegrini is confident he will come good.

He said: "I am absolutely sure we bought the right player. He is a young defender with a lot of experience."

"If you remember, the criticism with (Martin) Demichelis was absolutely the same as the criticism of Mangala.

"Maybe they need more time to settle here in the Premier League but I am sure we will see the great defender we have."

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