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Pellegrini delighted with display of Champions



Manuel Pellegrini revealed that he had no doubts his team would find the goals to claim all three points against Crystal Palace.

The match was goalless at the break, but a brace from David Silva followed by a powerful strike from Yaya Toure in the second half ensured City signed off for Christmas in style and head joint top of the Premier League.

While few genuine chances arrived in the first half despite some thrilling approach play, the manager told the press after the final whistle that he had faith in his side to break down the Eagles’ resistance.

Said Pellegrini: “I was always confident because we played very well in the first half. We had the patience to try and create the space and we didn’t allow them to have counter attacks.

“If we could continue creating the space that we did in the first half I was sure we would score. In the end we scored three goals against a difficult team that defended very well.”

Playing without a recognised striker, City relied on an abundance of midfield talent to secure the victory, and the manager believes that is unlikely to change for the trip to West Brom on Friday.

He added: “I don’t they will be fit for Boxing Day. We will see how Stevan Jovetic improves from now until Friday.”

Silva scored twice and was voted Man of the Match at the Etihad Stadium, and while Pellegrini spoke of his admiration for the Spanish midfield wizard he was quick to point out that City do not rely on one man.

Sergio Aguero has collected plenty of plaudits this season, and the Chilean expressed his delight that in his absence others can display match-winning talents.

“This team always needs Sergio Aguero to play because he is a very important player, but this team isn’t just about him and Silva is exactly the same,” Manuel declared.

“They are top players that make a difference, but if for any reason they cannot play we have a team that works a lot and knows how to do it.

“We were without Aguero, Dzeko and Kompany but the other players have their moments and have an important answer in the way David had today.”

Other possible candidates for the Man of the Match award included Toure, Samir Nasri and James Milner, and Pellegrini reserved special praise for the latter, who worked tirelessly up top in the absence of a traditional target man.

“Milner gave a very good performance,” smiled Pellegrini. “He is a player that works very hard, and creates a lot of movement and space for the rest of his teammates. We have been preparing for this match all week and we planned all this movement and all the freedom for Milner to create the space for other teammates.”

The result means that City are level at the top of the table with Chelsea ahead of the Londoners’ trip to Stoke on Monday night, but the boss insisted he has both eyes on his own team’s performances.

The Champions have slashed Chelsea’s lead at the top, and Manuel argued that he and his players never stopped believing that they could challenge the Londoners for the title.  

He said: “I don’t think about Chelsea. The only important thing for our team was to win three more points and continuing playing in the way we are doing so far and believing every day that we can be involved in the fight for the title.

“December is a key month, not the month that you win the title but you play so many games that if you want to be involved in the fight for the title you must be as near as you can to the head of the table. 

"We are in a good moment and no one believed a few months ago that we could continue in the Champions League and be able to fight for the title but we always trusted in what we do.

“I am so happy that once again this squad demonstrated why we won the title last year.”

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