Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has denied he is under mounting pressure after their pursuit of Chelsea in the title race was dealt a blow with Saturday's shock 2-1 defeat to West Ham United.
"I always feel the pressure exactly the same from the first day to today," he told a news conference.
The defeat came after a torrid midweek Champions League fixture with CSKA Moscow in which the Premier League champions gave up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.
Pellegrini denied his team was suffering a hangover from their Russian exploits, but was left to rue a series of missed chances by his usually prolific strike force during the loss to West Ham.
Sergio Aguero, who scored four against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, spurned several chances, while Yaya Toure had one of those games where he looked more a passenger than a player.
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Pellegrini said he retains trust in his players, but the ease with which West Ham's strikers dismantled his expensively-assembled defence must be cause for concern ahead of next week's visit of bitter rivals Manchester United.
Current league leaders Chelsea can open up an eight-point gap at the top of the table if they beat Manchester United on Sunday, but Pellegrini said he must keep his focus on his own team and not those around him in the table.
"We are just starting the season, we have 80 points left to play for. So it is early. We will continue fighting because there is no title being handed out at the moment," he said on the BBC.Reuse content