Manuel Pellegrini has stressed the importance of continuing to win on the road ahead of the long trip to Southampton.
The manager underlined the value of the three points gained at West Bromwich on Wednesday night and insisted he wants to see more of the same against a Saints side that has been treading water after an impressive opening to the campaign.
“I was absolutely sure the reason why we weren’t winning away was not due to tactical problems. I am also sure that the squad has the confidence to continue playing the way we are playing,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“We need to keep fighting for the Premier League because eight or nine teams are very close.”
The Chilean revealed that playmaker David Silva won’t be available for selection this weekend, but should be fit again at the start of next week which sees matches against Bayern Munich and Premier League leaders Arsenal.
“Silva may be ready on Monday. We’ll see after this weekend and how he is then and we will decide next week,” he said.
“Stevan Jovetic and Matija Nastasic are also still out.
“Vincent is OK, he will see if he can play two matches in less than three days, but he is OK.
“It’s not an easy decision, but he finished the last game [against West Brom] without any problems. But we’ll wait to see if he has had a perfect recovery and we’ll decide if he is OK to play another game.”
Despite the Saints losing their last three games, Pellegrini is expecting a tough test against a familiar coach.
“Pochettino is a great manager and someone who I know very well. I’m sure he is going to play with a strong team," he said.
“It’s not good for any team to lose and I don’t know what happened them recently, they have a young team and a young manager. But they have a lot of good players; it’s a very good side.”
Having travelled to South Africa as part of the club’s pre-season tour this summer, the manager was also keen to make a personal tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.
“Well we played in South Africa this summer and it was a very special time for the whole team. Mr Mandela was very sick in that moment, so he could not attend the match, but it was a very special time,” he said.
“I think he was one of the most important men in the world, his impact was very important and strong and he leaves a legacy which is very important too.”