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Pellegrini: It was not easy

Pellegrini

Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini was pleased to see a battling performance from his team at Sunderland.

The Blues emerged victorious with a solitary Sergio Aguero strike, and were forced to withstand a wave of Black Cats pressure in the second half to preserve the points.

The visitors' solid defensive display against the relegation battlers impressed the Chilean, who insisted he expected nothing less.

He reflected: "It was a very important three points. It was a tough game, as we supposed beforehand.

"All teams fighting relegation play every game as if they are finals. They give all for every ball.

"We defended very well. It's easy to defend with eight or nine players, though maybe that is not our style. We normally try to attack and score goals.

"That was our third game in a week - we played Everton on Wednesday, Aston Villa on Saturday and now Sunderland on Tuesday.

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"It is impossible with so many injuries to play with the same team and so it is difficult to have a high pace.

"It was better that we defended well and we did it with concentration."

Kun's winner, though well-taken, saw the Argentine suffer an injury, as Billy Jones' studs raked the striker's calf.

Pellegrini admitted the knock affected Aguero's performance, but asserted there was no lasting damage with City's top scorer in fine spirits.

"He couldn't continue playing the way he normally does," the boss conceded. "He has an important injury on his skin but he scored a very important goal so he was very happy."

Joe Hart also impressed, producing several key stops - but again, it was no surprise to the manager.

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"Joe made important saves," Pellegrini recalled. "He is a very good goalkeeper - he normally doesn't have too much work so it's good for him to have games where he can demonstrate why he is number one."

Looking ahead to Saturday's top-of-the-table clash, he added: "We continue to be involved in the title race and now we have to play Leicester at home - the leaders.

"We are in all four competitions and I am very happy with the games we have played this season. We have had very bad luck with injuries but the players have always showed character with fight and have played the way they like to play."

Following yesterday's announcement regarding Pellegrini's future, the City faithful paid tribute to the Chilean, singing his name throughout - an act the boss was grateful of.

"I always feel their support," he smiled. "It was very good to hear them tonight."

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