Friday 28 October 2016

'Red devils don't deserve fourth'

Pellegrini insists gulf in class between City and United is huge

Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini was confident West Ham could do his Manchester City side a Champions League favour - but says they must now take advantage.

West Ham's victory over Manchester United on Tuesday put City back in control of their battle to finish in the Premier League top four.

Fourth-placed City surrendered the initiative as they were pegged back to a 2-2 draw by Arsenal last week and the mood at the Etihad Stadium consequently fell flat.

Pellegrini admits the players were down but he was sure West Ham - who were it not for a vastly inferior goal difference might still be in Champions League contention themselves - would still have a say.

Now City now go into their final game at Swansea tomorrow with a two-point advantage and Pellegrini hopes his side are fired up and ready to complete the job.

"This Premier League is not easy," said Pellegrini at a press conference. "Maybe all of you were thinking we were out but you must win all your games in every stadium and every game is very difficult.

"After the game on Sunday I was very disappointed, especially not to get the three points here with our fans, but I was sure United had a difficult task to do.

"I just was talking with the players, (saying) that we are not ready, (because of) the same atmosphere that everybody thought we were eliminated from the first four positions - but now it is in the other sense.

"I was not surprised, I was sure West Ham was a really tough game for United. I think the teams in the first four positions are the best teams of the season and there is a lot of difference between our team and United over the whole of the season.


"But Swansea are a difficult team when you play away. They have done well in the last two games. We must play a very good game to qualify."

Pellegrini hopes his side can reproduce the attacking elements they showed against Arsenal.

City, so inconsistent this season, produced one of their best displays of recent weeks but were unable to make the most of some strong spells of superiority.

"I want to finish by playing the way we did against Arsenal," said Pellegrini, for whom the match also marks the end of his reign as City boss.

"I think we did play a very good game. If we finish playing that way and we win, it will be a good finish."

City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov faces a fitness test ahead of tomorrow's game.

The Serbia international missed last weekend's draw with Arsenal with a muscular injury and will be examined but captain Vincent Kompany (thigh), playmaker David Silva (hamstring) and right-back Pablo Zabaleta (calf) are all missing.

Midfielder Samir Nasri is back in contention after recovering from the illness which prevented him playing a full part in training last week.

Manager Francesco Guidolin is due to rest Swansea's Euro 2016 contingent for tomorrow's clash.

That includes captain Ashley Williams, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, defender Neil Taylor and midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.

So Sweden goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt will make his Premier League debut in a Swansea side also set to be without Jefferson Montero and Alberto Paloschi (both hamstrings) again.

Guidolin, meanwhile, is determined to keep Icelandic star Sigurdsson at the club this summer. "I hope Gylfi will stay because he's an important player for us," said the Italian, who signed a two-year extension on Wednesday.

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