Football

Published: Friday May 2, 2014 MYT 9:12:42 PM
Updated: Friday May 2, 2014 MYT 9:13:35 PM

City welcome pressure as favourites, says Pellegrini

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is unconcerned about the pressure of being back in pole position to win the Premier League, he said on Friday.

Liverpool's home defeat by Chelsea last Sunday meant that City will almost certainly regain the title they lost last season if they win their three remaining games.

The final two are at home to Aston Villa and West Ham, both of whom are in poor form, so the game at Everton on Saturday is seen as the crucial fixture.

"When you just depend on what you do, it's better for the players," Pellegrini told reporters.

"We like to have the pressure to be one of the teams who can win the title.

"At this moment the motivation is very high."

City, champions in 2012, were written off in some quarters after losing at Liverpool and only drawing with lowly Sunderland recently, but last weekend's results changed all that.

Although Liverpool, like City, can also finish with 86 points, the Manchester side have a goal difference that is already eight better, with an extra game to improve it further.

Pellegrini, hoping to join those managers who have become English champions in their first season in charge, said Spanish international David Silva, who missed last Sunday's win at Crystal Palace with an ankle injury, was back in the squad.

But he warned that Everton, under Roberto Martinez, will be difficult opposition at Goodison Park, where City have won only once in 22 years.

"The past is the past and this is the present, but Everton at any stage would be a difficult team," the Chilean said.

"Roberto is doing a very good job in the same way he did at Wigan, playing for the Champions League and Europa League.

"We are sure we're going to have a tough game.

"In football you never know, so the important thing for us is to think about what we can do and the only thing we can do is to try and win our games."

Everton are in fifth place, four points behind Arsenal but three ahead of Tottenham as they seek a return to European football for the first time in five years.

(Writing by Steve Tongue, editing by Ed Osmond)

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