Belfast Telegraph

Pellegrini won't change his outlook

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has vowed to stick to his tried and tested approach to arrest the champions' poor run of form.

The international break comes after one win in six matches for City, with their Champions League future teetering on the edge and with them eight points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The latest blow came against survival hopefuls QPR in a 2-2 draw when City were outplayed bar Sergio Aguero's brilliance and double strike.

Pellegrini, though, insisted he would not compromise his plans.

"We don't have any doubts," Pellegrini said.

"We will continue to work in the same way we are doing.

"We'll continue to play the style of play we always do. And especially for me, when you have a bad moment you must have more trust in what you do.

"It's important to have the national break in this moment.

"We are maybe not in a very good moment but the team continued fighting, continued working until the end. We tried to win.

"We had a lot of chances to score. We didn't do it. That's why we just drew."

Pellegrini made some alterations following the midweek loss to CSKA Moscow - four changes in personnel and a change in shape to a 4-4-1-1 - but City were still susceptible in defence, particularly without Vincent Kompany as Eliaquim Mangala struggled.

The Chilean pointed to the goals against column in City's defence and responded to Sam Allardyce's comments last month that Mangala had been left exposed at West Ham by referencing his side's prolific record against the Hammers last season.

"When you are a manager and win you have all the solutions," Pellegrini said.

"The same manager (Allardyce), we last year scored 14 goals (in four games against West Ham) and he didn't have the solution.

"We are conceding goals but we are the third best defence in the league, with one more goal (conceded) than Chelsea.

"So be careful, we're not so bad."

While Pellegrini might be glad of the break, QPR's momentum has been halted after four impressive performances in succession, albeit with just four points claimed.

The defeat of Aston Villa, draw with City and losses to Liverpool and Chelsea have shown a marked improvement in Harry Redknapp's side.

There is a togetherness and spirit, epitomised by midfielder Karl Henry.

"Karl wasn't in my team at the end of last season in the Championship," Redknapp said.

"Now he's got back in and is going to be very hard to shift.

"If you've got people doing that then you've got a chance (of survival)."

Charlie Austin's goals give QPR an opportunity, too.

He was a menace throughout against City, scoring his sixth of the season and fourth goal in three games in front of England boss Roy Hodgson.

Redknapp, who signed Austin from Burnley, tried to play down the talk of an England call-up for the former non-League player, whose grandfather he knows well.

"His granddad Ozzy is my mate," added Redknapp, who recalled a conversation when he was boss at Tottenham.

"'Have a look at my grandson, Harry.' I asked who he was playing for and he said Hungerford. I'm managing in the Premier League - I'm not going to nip down to Hungerford Town.

"I couldn't see him getting in the Tottenham team when he was at Poole Town. I thought he's not better than (Jermain) Defoe or (Rafael) van der Vaart.

"When he was at Swindon he said 'my Charlie's doing well'. I only know Ozzy as Ozzy, I didn't realise he was called Austin. I suddenly realised who Charlie was.

"He's a great lad and appreciates being a footballer. He's a fantastic boy, he really is.

"Roy has seen him here. He'll make a decision whether he's up to it. He's got to keep scoring goals and if he keeps doing that then he's got a chance."

Joey Barton compared Austin to Rickie Lambert, who is in the England squad.

Barton said: "If you're not playing for Liverpool - who can't really hit a cow's a*** with a banjo at the minute in terms of their frontline - and you can't get a game for them how do you get in the England squad?"

Barton has Austin in his Fantasy Football team.

"My mates before the Villa game were giving him a load of stick because he hadn't scored," Barton added.

"They took him out and I kept faith with him and he has produced for me."


From Belfast Telegraph