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Too early for title talk, says Pellegrini

Ahead of the third Premier League game of the season at Goodison Park, Manuel Pellegrini was quick to brush off talk of title chances.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the boss underlined that August is no time to be talking about the destination of the trophy next May, and his focus remains solely on the clash with Everton on Sunday afternoon.

Pellegrini declared: “No one in the squad is thinking about what will happen in May. We have only played two games, we played very well and it is important to continue doing that.

“It is important to have a gap between the big teams, but last year Chelsea had a gap of eight points to us and in January we were in the same position in the table.

“Football changes every week so we are not thinking about anything else but Everton.”

Pablo Zabaleta has been ruled out for up to four weeks, but Manuel confirmed that summer signing Fabian Delph has returned to full training this week ahead of the trip to Merseyside.

Victory over the Toffees would equal a club record of nine league wins on the spin, but the Chilean’s eye remains fixed on points rather than the history books.

He added: “The record does not matter. It is important for me to have three more points in the table, and to continue the way we played in the first two games because we must be consistent through the season.

“If that means a new record, so be it, but that is not the most important thing.

“It will be a difficult challenge, because Everton are always a difficult team who play good football. In the two games so far this season they have scored five times.

“They have Lukaku in a good moment and we will have to play with a lot of intensity if we want to win there.”

Manuel does have a new centre back at his disposal following the signing of Argentine international Nicolas Otamendi on Thursday.

The manager was full of praise for his newest squad member, who he believes will keep improving and provide crucial competition for places, while a decision is yet to be made about whether Jason Denayer will head out on loan.

He told the assembled media: “We needed a centre back, we analysed different options and we decided that Nicolas Otamendi was the best option so here he is. I think he will be a very important player for our team.

“He played well at Porto with Mangala and last season in Valencia he had a very good season so he is improving every year.

“We now have another centre back, together with Mangala, Kompany and Jason Denayer also. For this season with the amount of games we have to play then it is important to have another centre back. It’s important to have competition within the squad.

“With the way we are playing at this moment it is impossible to move Kompany and Mangala from their best positions. We are in a good moment, we haven’t conceded a goal in the last two games so we will continue playing in the same way.”

As is customary, Manuel refused to be drawn into commenting on the usual swirl of transfer rumours, or on whether any more additions will arrive before the window closes next month.

“The window closes in September, before that no one knows what will happen,” said Pellegrini. “All the teams have the same options to bring in players or not to bring in players.

“I don’t talk about rumours. When things are finished then I will talk about them.”


However, he was happy to chat about the continuing good form of Sergio Aguero – who he believes is set to get even better in 2015/16 – but that any debate about where he ranks in the list of City’s greatest ever players should wait until the Argentine has hung up his boots.

He argued: “To make that comparison we must wait until he has finished his career. He is just starting, is only 26, and has a big future.

“Like I said last week, I think we will see a better Sergio this season. That is not easy because he did so well last season, but he is improving year on year.”

Support the team as they aim to continue the 100% start to the season at our next home match in the Premier League against Watford on Saturday 29th August at 3pm. Make sure you don’t miss out on another memorable game at the newly-expanded Etihad Stadium and buy your tickets now or enjoy the game in the new 93:20 bar from £75.

Hospitality is also available – Experience the new Legends suite from £150 + VAT and enjoy a matchday like a Legend. To book, call our hospitality team on +44 161 444 1894    (option 1, option 2) or email hospitality@mcfc.co.uk

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