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Pellegrini delighted with another supreme away win



Manuel Pellegrini has once again praised his side for a sublime performance away from home, as City reached the knock-out stages of the Champions League for a second successive season.

Although the English champions knew a score draw could be enough to secure qualification, the visitors produced another impressive display to clinch a 2-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico and the Chilean believes his side are finally replicating the form they portrayed in last year's double-winning campaign.

"We won the game today in the same way we have done over the last three weeks," he reflected. "We have recovered our normal performance. We are playing well and we are similar to the team that won the title last year.

"We are a solid team. We recovered the ball well and all the team were working together with and without the ball.

"Before the game, I spoke with the players and I told them I thought we played the worst game of the season against Roma in Manchester.

"Tonight though, I had a lot of trust in what we could do. We were sure that, by playing the way we have been in the last few weeks, we could win and we did."

Prior to the clash, there was much discussion about potential line-ups, with City missing several key players, but those who were selected battled gallantly, earning deserved admiration from their manager.

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"I said yesterday I don't want to complain about the players that are not in the team," he stated. "We have had to play without Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva or Sergio Aguero and it is difficult - but this team deserves more credit than the press give.

"We are not just about Sergio. Although he is not playing, the team have qualified to the last 16, playing the same way we do in the Premier League."

There had been a suggestion in the lead up to the game that skipper Kompany could make a return to action. However, the Belgian was left out of the squad as a precaution, as Pellegrini explained.

"I hope Vincent can be fit for Saturday [against Leicester]," he declared. "It was a risk for him to play today because he has a problem with his hamstring and his calf.

"It was better for him - and the team - that he did not play today."

With focus now turning to Monday's European draw, Pellegrini insists his immediate priority is the domestic league, as City prepare to enter a packed festive calendar.

"We have finished with the Champions League for the moment and we will start thinking about this competition again in February," he asserted.

"Even if we hadn't have qualified today, I would have said the same. Now, we must think about the Premier League. We have to reduce the points Chelsea have over us at the top of the table.

"We are just three points behind them and we have four games in December to think about."

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