Pellegrini hopes City run continues

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Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his team may have clicked into gear but is setting no targets – other than to keep winning.

City have overcome the sticky spell they hit in October and November which saw them win just one in six at one stage by putting together a run of four successive victories.

The last three games of that sequence, starting with a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win over Bayern Munich, have come in exhilarating fashion, evoking memories of some of last season’s best performances.

The champions still trail Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea by six points but Pellegrini is not worrying about that just yet.

The Chilean said: “We are not thinking about the six points Chelsea are in front, we are thinking about trying to continue with the performance we did last week to add the most amount of points in the first round (of fixtures).

“We will see on January 1 what is the distance between Chelsea and our team, but the only way is to continue winning.”

City’s next outing sees them host Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The game comes four days before City’s decisive Champions League Group E game at Roma, where a positive result could see Pellegrini’s men through to the last 16.

Despite that, neither captain Vincent Kompany nor David Silva will feature against Everton as Pellegrini saves them for a potential return against Roma.

Other positive news for City is that striker Edin Dzeko and defender Aleksandar Kolarov have recovered from their calf problems and are available.

Forward Stevan Jovetic will be rested as a precaution after a knock in midweek.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels his side need to “sharpen up” but insists there should not be too negative a view taken of how they have been faring recently.

Martinez was disappointed the Toffees were held to a 1-1 Barclays Premier League home draw by Hull on Wednesday, a game which they initially dominated before showing some defensive sloppiness and fading as time went on.

Everton have had Europa League football to deal with this term as well as several injuries, and their manager admitted tiredness had crept in during the midweek match.

The Merseysiders are seven points off the Premier League’s top four in 11th place and Wednesday’s result means they have won only one of their last five top-flight fixtures.

But prior to a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham last Sunday, Martinez’s men were unbeaten in eight games in all competitions, collecting 11 domestic points from the 15 on offer within that period.

And the Spaniard said of his team: “It is a bit of everything – it is not just about scoring more goals, or defending better.

“Overall, we just need to be a bit more aware of our performances and the games we are involved in, and maybe sharpen up our performances, making sure we find a way to collect all three points.

“We want to win every game, and don’t shy away from that.

“But I think it is important to look at the performances, and stats are a little bit confusing.

“I wouldn’t be too concerned about looking at it as we have only won once in five – I could say we only lost once in the last 10. I’m not too relaxed, but that is all I’m saying.

“Have we got all the points we deserve? Probably not, and we need to address that.

“We are obviously disappointed we had a few draws where we should have won, and a game we lost where we should have got something.

“But the margins are very small.”

Everton are set to have Antolin Alcaraz back available for Saturday’s game, the defender poised for a return to action after missing six fixtures due to a shoulder problem.

Martinez does not expect Steven Naismith, James McCarthy (both hamstring) or Darron Gibson (knee) to be ready to make their comebacks this weekend, but Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo may feature as their return to fitness continues.

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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