Everton v Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini wants to keep away problems in the past to secure Premier league title
City travel to Goodison Park today knowing that they cannot afford to slip up to Everton
Saturday 03 May 2014
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has urged his side to seize firm control of the title race by pushing their away-day problems further into the past.
City can move top of the Barclays Premier League with victory at Everton on Saturday.
Pellegrini's men currently trail leaders Liverpool by three points but have three games to play, compared to their rivals' two, and have a superior goal difference.
City began the campaign as title favourites but their challenge was undermined by poor away results in the opening months.
Now they have regained that status, following Liverpool's loss to Chelsea last weekend, and Pellegrini is determined to take full advantage by winning at a ground where City have traditionally struggled.
The Citizens have lost on their last four visits to Goodison Park and won only once there since 1992-93.
Pellegrini said: "We are just thinking about the next game against Everton.
"It is very important to win that and then think about the next two games.
"It is very important to be fighting until the end because we started the season playing very badly away - we won just four points from the first 18.
"But from that moment on we've been one of the best away teams. It is important to continue playing that way."
Five of the six games City have lost this season have been away from home, and four of them - against Cardiff, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Sunderland - came before mid-November.
Those problems have meant City have hit top spot only fleetingly this term, but now the team have their destiny in their own hands, Pellegrini denies coming from behind carries any less pressure.
He said: "I don't think so - I think the pressure of being on top and not on top is exactly the same.
"For me and the players, we feel the same pressure whether we are on top of the table or not."
Everton will be weaker for the absence of midfielder Gareth Barry, who has made a big impression since joining the Toffees on loan from City.
The 33-year-old is ineligible to play against his parent club.
It has been suggested City might have been in an even stronger position if Barry, who is in the last year of his City contract, had stayed at the Etihad Stadium, but Pellegrini has no regrets.
The Chilean said: "It was very important for Gareth to play.
"I have five midfielders and I kept Jack Rodwell because he had more years (on his) contract. I am very happy he has had a very good year."
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