Manchester City go into today’s early game against West Bromwich Albion knowing that nothing but a win will be good enough if they harbour any hopes of catching Chelsea in the Premier League title race.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News before the game, Manuel Pellegrini knows he has a tough job on his hands to pick up his players after Wednesday’s defeat to Barcelona, but is looking for a reaction from his players:
“We must have a strong personality and recover as quickly as we can.
“As I said to the players, we are still in this competition.”
Home form will be of paramount importance during the run-in, throwing up some huge games in the league, and although the Chilean will want his players to believe that they can catch Jose Mourinho’s side, he knows they have to keep one eye over their shoulder at the teams below them.
“We have nine games left and me must try to play well and try to do what we must for this team, said Pellegrini. “Which is to stay in second position and never give up. In football anything can happen, so we will fight to retain the title to the end.”
After today’s game, City will have played two more than Chelsea – who don’t play Hull City until Sunday, and it’s a similar situation to the one Pellegrini’s team found themselves in last season when they had three games in hand, something which he thinks they never got the credit for:
He added: “Maybe last year nobody give us the merit we deserve because we always had three games less, but it’s not easy when you have three games in hand and you have to make up nine points.
“You must fight against that pressure and you must win those games to have the same amount of points.
Pellegrini is saying all the right things as his team try to claw back Chelsea’s six-point lead, even if it might not be enough to save his job at the end of the season.
He said: “The best way to do it is to play every game as a final, and we will see this year if we have the same mentality as we did last year.”