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Pellegrini not giving up on title


Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure could be out of action for up to a fortnight

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure could be out of action for up to a fortnight

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure could be out of action for up to a fortnight

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is convinced his side are still firmly in the Barclays Premier League title race.

Pellegrini insists little has changed as a result of Sunday's defeat to leaders Liverpool.

The loss left third-placed City trailing the Reds by seven points and Chelsea by five but, with two games in hand, Pellegrini claims the battle could still be too close to call.

The Chilean said: "I think the team knows perfectly what they have to do.

"We lost that game but we have still to play six games more and we will fight to the end to win the title.

"If we don't do it, it is because Liverpool will win their four games, but I don't think some things change after the game on Sunday.

"Of course, the fans believe that we can do it.

"The two games postponed - if we win both we are just one point behind Liverpool.

"If you don't believe (when you are) just one point behind the leader, nobody can believe anything.

"We have had a very good season so far and we hope we finish in the last six games in the same way."

City's title destiny may be out of their hands but they will look to apply pressure as they play the first of their games in hand at home to bottom side Sunderland on Wednesday.

"The important thing is that we win our games," Pellegrini said.

"We can do nothing about the other teams but we can do a lot of things here.

"That is why I am sure the players know exactly what they have to do and we will try to start winning one of the two games postponed so both teams, Chelsea and Liverpool, must feel we are only three or four points behind them with one game also to play at the end of the season."

Pellegrini accepts it will be difficult for his players to pick themselves given the manner of the defeat at Anfield.

After a sluggish start, City recovered from 2-0 down to level but Philippe Coutinho pounced on a Vincent Kompany error to settle a pulsating clash 12 minutes from time.

That capped a chastening afternoon for Kompany, who had been a fitness doubt going into the game and was also at fault for Liverpool's first two goals.

But the City boss said: "We are recovering. It is not easy to recover from that game but we are recovering.

"The players are very conscious of what we are fighting for and the only duty we must do is to win our games."

Sunderland proved tough opponents for City when the sides met in the Capital One Cup final last month.

Since then the Black Cats' plight has worsened considerably and they are now seven points from safety at the foot of the table.

Pellegrini said: "I think it is very dangerous, the position that they are in the table - more dangerous than a match that was one month ago.

"Sunderland are in a very bad position and they know they have to win so they will be very dangerous."

City will be without key midfielder Yaya Toure, who limped off just 19 minutes into Sunday's game with a leg injury and will be out for 10 days to a fortnight.

That means he could also miss matches against West Brom and Crystal Palace but the problem does not appear as bad as first feared.

"Yaya has a muscle injury," Pellegrini said. "We will see with the doctor how many days.

"Maybe it is not so hard as we thought at the beginning, but I think he needs at least 10 days or two weeks to recover."

Kompany and top scorer Sergio Aguero, who made his comeback at the weekend after five games out with a hamstring injury, are both fit.