x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Manuel Pellegrini bullish on City’s chance

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insisted it is far too early to write off his team’s chances of winning the English Premier League title, and he said he remains confident his team will be among the challengers for the title.

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, remains bullish on their chances to win the English Premier League title. Delores Johnson / The National
Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, remains bullish on their chances to win the English Premier League title. Delores Johnson / The National

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insisted it is far too early to write off his team’s chances of winning the English Premier League title, and he said he remains confident his team will be among the challengers for the title.

Pellegrini took over from Roberto Mancini in the summer and so far has suffered mixed fortunes in his debut season in England. Following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, City find themselves in eighth place, six points behind leaders Arsenal.

Pellegrini said there is little to choose between the top teams.

“The Premier League is very close this year. There are six clubs challenging, with very little difference between one team and another,” he said during a visit of the club’s soccer school in Abu Dhabi yesterday. “We have a lot of points to fight for, and I think at the end it will be between Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.”

He is convinced that his methods are the right ones and that individual mistakes, rather than bad form, have contributed to a run of poor results away from home, including four defeats and one draw from six matches.

Despite a mixed bag in England’s top tier, City have excelled in the Uefa Champions League.

Despite a 3-1 defeat at home to holders Bayern Munich, they qualified for the knock-out stages for the first time in their history with two group matches to spare.

“I think [qualification] was important, especially for the club,” Pellegrini said while overseeing a training session for Manchester City Soccer School at Zayed Sports City. “For the last two years they couldn’t progress and the goal was to grow every year and show massive improvement. It was very important to qualify for the next round.”

Pellegrini also expressed delight with how his new signings have fared and revealed there are no plans to bring in new players to replace those who are injured, such as captain Vincent Kompany, who is out with a thigh problem.

akhaled@thenational.ae

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