West Ham v Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini admits away form must improve

The Sky Blues have already lost on the road to Aston Villa and Cardiff

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admits his team's away form is not acceptable.

City are yet to win on the road in the Barclays Premier League this season, having lost at Cardiff and Aston Villa and drawn at Stoke.

They are only three points off the top of the table but Pellegrini concedes the away results are a concern.

Pellegrini said: "Of course we are worried about that.

"I think we deserve more points away, the way we are playing, but the reality says we have one point from nine so we need to win."

City face a test of their resolve with four successive away games across three competitions in the next fortnight.

They travel to West Ham this weekend before heading out to Russia for a Champions League tie at CSKA Moscow.

A trip to Chelsea follows a week on Sunday and City then visit Newcastle in the Capital One Cup.

Pellegrini said: "Now we play four games in a row away so it is the best moment, first to win away against West Ham and then to repeat the triumph we had against Plzen in the Champions League.

"It is very important for us to get three points more."

It has been suggested Pellegrini - new to the Premier League this season - has been taken aback by the manner in which perceived inferior opponents have attacked his side.

He dismisses that and feels the team need to work on their vulnerabilities, particularly defensively, and especially with captain Vincent Kompany out injured.

He said: "What happened at Cardiff and Aston Villa was not because we were not prepared for the atmosphere.

"There were a lot of important reasons why we couldn't win - but I think we played very well against Aston Villa.

"We must address a lot of unnecessary mistakes, unnecessary fouls, our concentration at set-pieces, and continue playing the way we have been doing until now.

"If we see the statistics of the games we played away, of course we must be worried because Villa scored three goals and Cardiff scored three goals.

"It is a thing we must improve, not only with Vincent Kompany. We must improve the performance of all of our defending as a team."

Key defender Kompany misses the trip to Upton Park with a groin injury sustained in the victory over Everton a fortnight ago.

Recent reports had suggested he could return this weekend but Pellegrini will not risk him despite his good progress.

He said: "Vincent is working hard. He is not ready to play but I hope next week he will be."

Fellow central defender Martin Demichelis, who has not featured since his August signing due to a knee injury, is also nearing fitness but will not play at West Ham.

Pellegrini said: "Demichelis played, last Wednesday, 45 minutes for the under-21s.

"I think he is in the shape as Kompany. I hope that next week both of them could be fit."

West Ham gave warning of their ability with an impressive win over Tottenham in their last game.

Pellegrini expects a tough challenge from Sam Allardyce's men and will not be taking them lightly.

He said: "I can't know what he will do but maybe he will try to play exactly the same way Aston Villa played against us, waiting with nine or 10 players defending and try to counter-attack.

"That is how they normally play. They are a very strong team and a very dangerous team. We are aware of that."

The arrival of Pellegrini in the summer changed the atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium after the fraught final days of Roberto Mancini's reign.

Yet the Chilean, speaking at his latest press conference, would not be drawn on a fresh report claiming he eased tensions by lifting some unusual Mancini-imposed dressing-room rules.

It is claimed the superstitious Mancini forbade players from playing music before or after games, banned the colour purple in clothing and insisted on team meetings at odd-numbered times.

But Pellegrini said: "I am not comparing now (to) what happened in the past.

"I just manage the group of players the way I think it is the best.

"It is not the only way, there are a lot of different ways to do it. This is my way.

"I just talked to players at the beginning to tell them the way I like them to work in the week, what they can do and can't do.

"I have a lot of trust in all of them."

PA

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