Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City's season hasn't turned into a disaster: Pellegrini

By Andy Hampson

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted his side's season is "not a disaster".

City's Barclays Premier League title defence is in ruins after the champions crashed to yet another defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday.

The loss left them fourth in the table, trailing leaders Chelsea by nine points and having played a game more.

Since drawing level with the Londoners at the top on New Year's Day, Pellegrini's men have won just four of their 11 league games.

The pressure is now on ahead of tomorrow's derby trip to rivals Manchester United - who have nipped ahead of them into third - but Pellegrini has no intention of playing safe in an attempt to stop the rot.

The Chilean said: "To draw is never a good result. I understand we are not getting the results that we need playing away - 2015 is not a good year for us - but before that we were the best team playing away.

"We have lost the last three (away) games, but the last two by two goals from set-pieces, against Burnley and Palace.

"We hope we continue keeping the good things we are doing because we are not a disaster, we're not a mess. We are doing a lot of things well but we must improve."

City have won the last four derbies and could break new ground by winning tomorrow.

City have never won five derbies in succession before and nor has any side in Premier League history beaten United on five consecutive occasions. That could provide extra motivation and Pellegrini feels the club are still feeding off former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's "noisy neighbours" jibe several years ago.

Pellegrini said: "I think the first motivation is always to win. After that, motivation comes from against whom you are going to try to win, like Manchester United.

"They dominated for years but one time Sir Alex Ferguson said the neighbours are disturbing them a little bit more - so I say that's double motivation for us."

City's form has led to an increase in speculation over Pellegrini's future but the 61-year-old is showing no sign that the pressure is getting to him.

He said: "I am not talking about my future because it is not important. I am just thinking about the game against Manchester United.

"I feel everyone supports me at the club, the players."

City captain Vincent Kompany is doubtful for the clash at Old Trafford after feeling his hamstring tightening at Selhurst Park.

Strikers Wilfried Bony and Stevan Jovetic have been ruled out and defender Dedryck Boyata is also unavailable.

Belfast Telegraph


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