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Pellegrini: We played to win

Manuel Pellegrini believes the display against Chelsea was the best team performance of the season so far.

Speaking after a dramatic second half against Chelsea when Frank Lampard’s equaliser against his former club secured a point for ten-man City, the boss declared he was pleased with the way his side played but was disappointed not to gain maximum points from the encounter.

The Chilean refused to speak about the referee’s decision to send off Pablo Zabaleta, but believed City were the only team who set out to win for the whole 90 minutes.

“I am satisfied with the performance of my team but not the result today,” Pellegrini said. “I think we tried to win for 90 minutes against a small team trying to defend and trying to keep ten players in front of their goal.

“The team who tried to win from the beginning had two or three good chances to score, especially in the second half, and after we went down to ten men we continued trying to win, which is why I am so satisfied with the performance of my team but not the score.”

Zabaleta received a second yellow card in the second half for a challenge on Diego Costa, and Pellegrini was pleased with the way his team responded to the setback by continuing to attack.

He explained: “I spoke after the game against Arsenal about what I think about referees and I will not speak about the referee after every game. You must analyse it and decide what happened.

“For me it was so important to see the team with ten men play in exactly the same way as with 11.”

There was special praise reserved for James Milner and debutant Eliaquim Mangala, who was voted Man of the Match by City supporters for an assured performance alongside captain Vincent Kompany.

“We had the best performance as a team this year, even better than against Liverpool,” the City manager told the assembled press.

“Every time that Milner plays I think he does well, and he is a very important player for us. It was Mangala’s first game here and he didn’t have to do much work, but every time he had a challenge he won it which is important because we always play with space behind our defenders.”

Goalscorer Frank Lampard stole most of the headlines with his 12 minute cameo, finding the net on 85 minutes after replacing Aleks Kolarov.

The midfielder is due to depart for New York in January, but Pellegrini believes his time with City will benefit both player and club for the next few months.

Manuel said: “I was so sure that Lampard would play well against Chelsea because he is such a good professional. He wanted to be involved from the beginning - he is a great player, very professional so I am very happy for him.”

On Lampard’s role in the squad, Pellegrini added: “It was important for him to continue working every day and but also I think it is important for our team to have a player with the experience and quality of Frank Lampard.”

There is only one way to watch City’s Capital One Cup third round clash with Sheffield Wednesday live.

The first step towards defending our trophy won at Wembley in March will not be shown live on TV anywhere in the UK, so make sure you’re at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 24 September.

Prices start at £5 for under-16s and £15 for adults, so no excuses: get your ticket now and make sure you don’t miss out!

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