Manchester City v West Brom: Manuel Pellegrini won't blame injuries as an excuse for Premier League failings
One point from six in City's last two games has seen them slip from title favourites but Pellegrini won't bemoan absence of key players
Saturday 19 April 2014
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is reluctant to use injuries as an excuse with regard to his side's faltering Barclays Premier League title challenge.
With five matches left to play, City - beaten by Liverpool and then held to a draw by Sunderland in their last two fixtures - are in third place behind the Reds and Chelsea in the race to be crowned champions, albeit with games in hand over those two clubs.
Pellegrini's squad have been hit by some notable injuries during the season, with top-scorer Sergio Aguero more than once having to spend a considerable spell on the sidelines.
Aguero returned from his latest enforced absence in the Liverpool match, and City were then without the likes of Professional Footballers' Association player of the year nominee Yaya Toure, David Silva and Jesus Navas in the Sunderland game due to injuries.
But, speaking ahead of Monday's home clash with West Brom, Pellegrini said: "We have had an important amount of injuries during the whole season.
"I think it has not only been our team, though.
"We play so many games with a lot of intensity and maybe all the teams that play in all the competitions have a lot of injuries.
"But, of course, it is a problem."
Sunderland went into their match against City on Wednesday lying bottom of the table but almost secured all three points at the Etihad Stadium from a contest that ended 2-2.
And with his team coming up against another side in the thick of the relegation battle on Monday in Albion, Pellegrini is certainly not viewing it as an easy assignment.
"Of course it (Wednesday's match) was a disappointment because we always want to win every game," the 60-year-old Chilean said.
"But I said before that game that playing against a relegation-threatened team is not easy.
"Sunderland did very well to get a point.
"Always playing against these teams at the end of the season is very difficult.
"You see what happened with Crystal Palace against Everton (Palace won 3-2 at Goodison Park, also on Wednesday) and what happened with our team against Sunderland - they are very difficult teams because they play at 100 per cent for every ball.
"I hope we can have the same attitude and the same intensity (as them)."
On the fact that City will be playing after their title rivals have been in action over the Easter weekend, Pellegrini added: "I think we must have in our minds not what is happening with the other teams - just to try to win our games.
"We must do this whether we are playing before or after they play."
City playmaker Silva's ankle problem makes him a doubt for the West Brom match.
Pellegrini has revealed winger Navas has also been struggling with an ankle issue, and Monday's game will come too soon for midfielder Toure to return after his leg injury, which it was suggested earlier this week could keep him out for up to a fortnight.
Defender Matija Nastasic, out of action since February because of a knee complaint, remains unavailable.
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