Belfast Telegraph

Manuel Pellegrini out to end 2014 in decisive style

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 Barclays Premier League crown and he knows they can ill afford to drop many more points.

City return to action third in the table, trailing leaders Chelsea by eight points. 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.

Pellegrini, speaking ahead of today's clash with Swansea, said: "That of course will be the best thing we can do, but I think December and this week of November are decisive. We are going to play eight games in the league, we are going to finish the first round (of fixtures). We have 24 more points to try to win.

"We have to try. Not to be top of the table, because Chelsea are very good at the moment, but I think it is important to have a good first round - more than 41/42 points."

Premier League: Etihad Stadium, Today 3pm

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