English Premiership

Pellegrini relaxed at Xmas spot

2014-12-23 22:58
Manuel Pellegrini (AFP)

Manchester - Many Premier League managers highlight the importance of negotiating the hectic Christmas period, but Manchester City's Manuel Pellegrini is in a relaxed mood with his side trailing leaders Chelsea by three points.

Second-placed City, who have 39 points from 17 matches, begin the holiday fixture schedule with a trip to West Bromwich Albion on Friday before hosting Burnley and Sunderland in quick succession.

Having won six successive league matches, City have closed the gap on Chelsea but Pellegrini does not think the next few weeks will define the champions' season.

"We are not thinking about Chelsea," Pellegrini told a news conference on Tuesday. "We are just thinking about our team.

"We know it is important to have our own pressure. You never win the title in December.

"We have a long five months to continue playing as well as we are doing so far and we will see at the end of the season which team has most points."

City can take heart from claiming two titles in three seasons, but Pellegrini does not think that will give his side an edge against Chelsea, who last won the prize in 2010.

"It is always hard to win, the first time and the second time," Pellegrini said. "I think there is the same degree of difficulty from one year to another.

"We have the players in a high level of performance. We are trusting what we do, so in the same way we played poorly two months ago, we are now doing very well."

City played without a striker in their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend as first-choice forwards Steven Jovetic, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero were all injured.

Pellegrini will again have to make do without a recognised striker against West Brom, but the Chilean hopes Jovetic, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring strain, will be back soon along with captain Vincent Kompany.

"Maybe Jovetic and Kompany will be back soon, at the end of this week or next week," he said.

"But Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero will be back until the second part of January."

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
Crystal Palace v Watford, Selhurst Park 22:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
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