Arsenal 1 Manchester City 1: Manuel Pellegrini encouraged by defence's role in away form as trip to Anfield to play Liverpool looms

Pellegrini said he had no concerns over away form as the season nears it's end

Manuel Pellegrini bristled when asked if he was "concerned" about his team’s away form with a potential title decider at Anfield looming. Early this season Manchester City travelled badly, losing at Cardiff, Aston Villa and Sunderland as well as Chelsea but, pointed out their manager: "We had won six and drawn one of the last seven away games before playing Arsenal, to get four points from two difficult away games this week (Arsenal and Manchester United) is good. I am not concerned."

Indeed, Saturday’s draw at the Emirates was City’s 10th game unbeaten on the road in the Premier League, seven of which have been won, in a run dating back to early December. That form, if maintained on visits to Goodison Park and Chelsea's nemesis, Selhurst Park, as well as Anfield, should ensure City take the title.

While it is their attacking players, like goalscorer David Silva, who take the plaudits most weeks Pellegrini said the credit for this away form belonged to his frequently maligned defence.

"I think our defence is in a very good moment. It is not easy to play against Arsenal, they had more possession in the second half, but we are defending very well. They had no chances to score apart from the goal."

 

That goal, from Mathieu Flamini, was just the second City have conceded away from home in six league matches – and the other was Etienne Capoue’s consolation for Spurs in a 5-1 drubbing.

The Chilean was just as dismissive of old rival Jose Mourinho’s latest piece of attempted kidology, the claim that - despite Chelsea being top of the league when he said it - his team’s title chances were over.

The pair have history, Mourinho having shown his customary disrespect for a fellow manager after replacing Pellegrini at Real Madrid. "I don’t know what he thinks," said Pellegrini.  "My way of thinking is four teams have options to win the title. It is very close, we have two games in hand, not six points more, it is not the same, we have to win those games."

Speaking to daily newspaper reporters he told us: "I don’t know if you think managers who play what you call ‘mind games’ are more intelligent. It is not my duty to analyse what Mourinho said, it is your duty. I don’t think managers can give any importance to 'mind games'."

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