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Pellegrini wants Boxing Day repeat

Manuel Pellegrini hopes City will kick on from their impressive Boxing Day triumph with another three points at table-topping Leicester.

The Foxes stunned the footballing world by reaching the Premier League summit for Christmas Day - but the Chilean insists the achievement is no fluke.

Although Claudio Ranieri's men slipped to defeat at Liverpool on Saturday, the City boss dismissed the suggestion the Midlands outfit will fall away from the top and has urged his side to produce the same level of performance which swept Sunderland aside so expertly.

Pellegrini told press: "Leicester are top of the table because they deserve to be. They have very important players in a very good moment with high performance.

"They beat Chelsea and drew against United - we must consider they will not collapse because they lost.

"We knew it was not easy for them to beat Liverpool away so we were confident that we could reduce the gap at the top if we beat Sunderland.

"Leicester couldn't win and now we have an important game to finish the first round of fixtures."

Though the encounter has been deemed a crucial one in the title race, the boss disagreed.

Manuel

"We have to play for 63 more points," he continued. "In December, you never win the title.

"It's important to try and repeat Saturday's performance in as many games as we can in the second round.

"As a team, we have options to fight for the title to the end."

With Leicester's top scorers Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez highlighted as the Foxes dangermen, Pellegrini was asked whether he would make special preparations to halt the pair.

Vardy may miss the clash through illness but the Chilean insisted - even if he should play - it would be naive to focus solely on specific players.

He declared: "Both of them are performing very well but I don't think they can do it if the whole team are not having a good performance.
 
"They are important players but we must think about a lot of different things - not just two players. We must think about Leicester City.
 
"We hope we can beat them but it will be a tough game."

When quizzed on team news, such as whether Sergio Aguero would return and how long Vincent Kompany would be absent for, he responded: "We will see.

"It is important how the players recover. We will try to put the best players in this moment."

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