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City boss Pellegrini still eyeing title

PELLEGRINI-TITLEMANCHESTER, November 21- Manuel Pellegrini remains confident Manchester City can challenge for the English Premier League title, despite currently trailing leaders Chelsea by eight points

Pellegrini’s team have made a stuttering start to the defence of their league crown and play host to Swansea City on Saturday, having won only one of their last six matches in all competitions prior to the break for international fixtures.

City’s form in the Champions League has also been poor and they are on the brink of elimination after failing to win any of their opening four fixtures.

However, Pellegrini, is still upbeat about his team’s prospects on both the domestic and European front.

“Now is not the moment to analyse what has happened in the season,” the City manager said Thursday.

“There are a lot of games to play in the Premier League and Champions League.

“We have 27 more games to play and there are a lot of points to be contested, so we will see at the end who will be the best team this year,” the Chilean added.

Manchester City are likely to be without influential playmaker David Silva for Saturday’s match at the Etihad Stadium, but club captain Vincent Kompany returned to training this week following a calf injury.

Kompany, though, could be held back for City’s Champions League clash at home to German giants Bayern Munich on Wednesday,

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Central defender Kompany suffered a calf strain on international duty with Belgium, while Silva is recovering from a knee injury sustained against Newcastle last month.

City are set to be without Yaya Toure in January and February after the midfielder helped the Ivory Coast qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

That could prompt Pellegrini to renegotiate the terms of Frank Lampard’s loan deal from US ‘sister club’ New York City FC.

Former England midfielder Lampard, 36, is due to move to the United States in January but the Major League Soccer season does not start until March, giving City hope that his loan could yet be extended.

-Swansea yet to peak – 

Meanwhile Neil Taylor is adamant high-flying Swansea have yet to hit top gear in the league this season.

Garry Monk’s fifth-placed men, currently just three points behind City, humbled Arsenal before the international break.

Now they travel to the Etihad aiming to complete an unlikely Manchester double in the opening three months of the campaign following their opening-day success at Manchester United.

Swansea’s Welsh international left-back Neil Taylor said: “We are happy with how we are playing and we have not even reached top form yet.

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“We have not played the free-flowing football we normally do. But we have tightened up defensively, we are playing as a team, which we have not done in the past and that gets you everywhere.”

Taylor added: “We are buzzing. It is always important to go into international breaks on a high and we managed to do that by beating a very good Arsenal side.

“We are feeling good, things are going well on all fronts, but we know football can bite you at times and you need to keep working hard.”

Swansea have also been boosted by the news that Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony has signed a new four-year deal with the Welsh club to ward off advances from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.

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