Leicester vs Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini warns players that Leicester can easily upset the odds despite sitting bottom

Leicester's 5-3 win over Manchester United has Pellegrini demanding his side keep their good form of late

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The Independent Online

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned his team they cannot afford to let their intensity drop as they travel to struggling Leicester this weekend.

City have burst into form in recent weeks, recording exhilarating Champions League victories over Bayern Munich and Roma amid a run of six successive wins.

Their midweek triumph in Rome saw them complete a remarkable turnaround in the Champions League as they claimed a place in the last 16 of Europe's elite competition - a feat that had seemed beyond them just a month ago.

Their good run of results has also seen them slash the eight-point advantage leaders Chelsea held over them in the Barclays Premier League to just three points.

 

City will therefore be expected to brush aside bottom side Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday but Pellegrini claims there can be no complacency.

The Chilean said: "Maybe it has been a difficult start for them but I think they are a very good team.

"They beat Man United and they lost against Liverpool, but in a game they played also very well.

"We are not thinking about which position they are in the table. We are thinking about if we want to win, we must play the same way we are doing in the last weeks.

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"I have always said to the players that for our club it is very important to continue in the Champions League, not just in the group stage, but that does not mean we don't care what is happening in the Premier League. The Premier League is as important as the Champions League."

City's Champions League revival, after they claimed just two points in their opening four matches of the competition, has raised hope they can make the impact in Europe they have long desired.

Yet while the ambition and the potential are clearly there, Pellegrini acknowledges there is still much to prove.

He said: "We must demonstrate also what we can do as a team.

"It is important for the team, for the trust of the team, and for the prestige of all the players to continue in the Champions League.

"But we now have nothing more to do in the Champions League until February so the most important thing is to try and win the next game, and after that we will see at the end of the year how important this team can be or how much the team can achieve."

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Nasri scored a stunning goal to help City see off Roma

Pellegrini sees the coming weeks, including the Christmas programme, as a critical spell in City's title defence.

They also play Crystal Palace, West Brom and Burnley before the end of the month and host Sunderland on New Year's Day.

Pellegrini said: "Our minds are now focused on the Premier League because we have to play four games more in December - 12 points.

"Including January 1, we have to play five games, so it is important we are very concentrated to try to continue winning in the same way we did against Everton, Southampton and Sunderland.

"December is a very important month for the Premier League. I hope if we continue winning and add three points more we will continue in the way we need to to be a successful team."

PA

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