Belfast Telegraph

Manuel not fazed by Chelsea team

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists he is not concerned about the possibility of Chelsea fielding a weakened team against title rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

The match at Anfield is the crucial game in the title race with all three clubs still in with a chance, but Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is considering fielding a weaker team to prioritise next week's Champions League semi-final second leg with Atletico Madrid.

That would also damage City's chances of being crowned champions as Pellegrini's side need to rely on Liverpool losing one of their remaining three games to have a chance.

Pellegrini, though, brushed off any such prospect saying his side just had to make sure they win their four remaining matches starting at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The City boss said: "I don't know what Chelsea or other teams are going to do in the future. The only important thing we can try to do is win our games, and we are going to try from now until the end of the season.

"I think every team tries to make the best thing for their team. If the other teams are damaged for that reason it is not the important thing for us.

"The only important thing for us is to win our games.

"Liverpool have to win their last three games. If they win the three games of course they are top of the table and they have the advantage.

"From the moment we lost the game against Liverpool they have the first chances to win it but for that they must win their games.

"All of our players believe they can still do it. Everyone that is working in football knows anything can happen, and easily in the last few games when the pressure is a lot."

The Chilean and Mourinho have sniped at each other consistently over the years, both in Spain and this season in the Premier League, but this time Pellegrini refused to become involved in a war of words over the Chelsea team selection.

Mourinho, meanwhile, has said he will consult the club's hierarchy before making a final decision on Sunday's line-up.

City got back on track against West Brom last weekend but need another good result against Palace after their title charge was damaged by being beaten by Liverpool and being held to a 2-2 draw by Sunderland.

However, David Silva and winger Jesus Navas will both miss the trip to Selhurst Park with ankle injuries, but Yaya Toure should be available again to bolster the midfield.

Pellegrini admitted that Palace are now a daunting prospect - under Tony Pulis they have won their last five games in a row.

He added: "Palace will be very difficult because they are a good team, they are playing very well and here at the Etihad we had a very difficult game and just beat them 1-0. We need to do them very good game if we want to win.

"Tony Pulis is doing a very good job, they are one of the best teams of the second round [half of the season], and I congratulate him."

Pellegrini insisted it would be "a lack of respect" if he had given priority to the Premier League over other competitions.

At one point, City were competing in all four competitions at a time when current Premier League leaders Liverpol were only involved in one.

Pellegrini said: "I think it was good to be in the four competitions for so long. We can't now complain about being in them. I said when I started the season that the four competitions were important.

"We had to play in every game to try to win. We were the team which continued longest in all of them.

"We won one - now we finish the Premier League by playing in these last games and we'll see what happens."


From Belfast Telegraph