Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

City has Gunners in its crosshairs

Updated: 2013-12-03 07:33
By Agence France-Presse in Manchester, England ( China Daily)

Manuel Pellegrini has challenged his Manchester City side to take maximum points from its two away games at West Bromwich Albion and Southampton as the wealthy Premier League club closes in on Arsenal at the top of the standings.

The Gunners are the next visitors to City's Etihad Stadium after the Blues moved to within six points of first place with a 3-0 home victory over Swansea on Sunday.

But first City must negotiate two testing road games and improve on a record that has already seen it lose four times on its travels this season.

Pellegrini has set his players the goal of being on top, or at least within three points of that position, by the first day of 2014 and concedes that the coming week, and those two away games, will be crucial in achieving that target.

"It's a big challenge. West Brom is a strong team playing at home," the City manager said.

"I hope now we can start winning away.

"I repeat, we deserve to have won some of those games we have lost. But in this week, we have two away games and six points, we must try to win all of them if we want to be fighting for the Premier League," the Chilean added.

"I can answer the question of whether we can do that (be top) after these two away games.

"I have a lot of trust in this team. We have to play six more Premier League games during December and we hope we can do it. It will be very important for us."

A superb free kick from Alvaro Negredo and two second-half goals from a resurgent Samir Nasri made sure City maintained the only 100 percent home record this season.

The seven home league victories recorded by Pellegrini's side have seen it score 29 times, with 25 goals in the last five home matches in league and cup competition.

Nasri's two goals were the highlight of the latest victory and the Frenchman is clearly flourishing under Pellegrini in a way he failed to do under his predecessor Roberto Mancini.

"I think Samir played very well, especially in the second half," said Pellegrini. "He also played very well in the Champions League.

"He is playing free, he is happy and he feels he's again an important player. The way we play maybe is very comfortable for him also.

"All of you know that he is a big player. He played before I arrived at City for three or four years and he played in the Champions League. He is a very, very good player. Now he is again playing the way he knows how to play."

Pellegrini dismissed reports from Spain that Real Madrid is considering a bid for his forward Sergio Aguero in the January transfer window.

(China Daily 12/03/2013 page24)

Hot Topics