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Leicester may have Premier League title advantage, admits Manuel Pellegrini

Published 31/01/2016

Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick as Manchester City continued their quest for a clean sweep with a 4-0 FA Cup win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick as Manchester City continued their quest for a clean sweep with a 4-0 FA Cup win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has hinted Leicester have an advantage in the title race.

The Chilean recognises City's quest for the quadruple will see the games pile up.

City eased into the FA Cup fifth round with Saturday's 4-0 win at Aston Villa, having already reached the League Cup final and Champions League knock-out stages.

Leicester have only 15 league games left and City will play 27 matches if they go all the way in every competition - more with FA Cup replays - a nd Pellegrini conceded Claudio Ranieri's leaders, who they welcome to the Etihad on Saturday, may have the edge.

"If you ask me if I want to be still in all four competitions, then the answer is yes, but if you are saying if it is easier when you play less games then maybe," he said, ahead of Tuesday's game at Sunderland, with City three points behind Leicester.

"It's a view about Leicester but I'm focusing more on my team.

"(In the last six weeks) we've got to the final of one cup and we have progressed in the other. We could be top of the table after the next two games depending on how we play. So if we win the next two games it's probably impossible to have been better."

Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick in Saturday's victory and he is set to be included in Pellegrini's Champions League squad ahead of Tuesday's registration deadline.

But the 19-year-old is likely to be dropped in favour of Sergio Aguero for City's trip to the Stadium of Light, with David Silva also set to return.

"Well, both of them are fit so probably (they will start). We have to decide," added Pellegrini.

Iheanacho, though, insisted he will be ready when called on.

He added: "I need to build confidence now in order to play and that's what I'm working on. There's no need for me to fear anything because I'm a professional footballer, but I need to build my confidence to play."

Saturday's defeat, rounded off by Raheem Sterling's goal, left bottom club Villa to focus on their survival bid.

Boss Remi Garde is yet to make a signing ahead of Monday's transfer deadline and a move for Hajduk Split goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic collapsed after an appeal over his work permit was rejected.

But Garde remains hopeful they can revive the deal in the summer.

"Hopefully, yes," he said. "It's a disappointment because we thought that we could sign him. I have not too many details on that. I've got some details but it's not for me to reveal it to tell you."

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