MANCHESTER, December 27 – Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has downplayed the significance of his side standing on the brink of a club-record 10-game winning run ahead of Sunday’s game against Burnley.
City’s 3-1 Boxing Day success at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League stretched their streak of victories to nine in a row in all competitions, leaving them on the verge of history ahead of Burnley’ visit.
Pellegrini conceded that the statistic was news to him, but said that it was points, rather than records, that are his primary focus as his second-placed side look to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea.
“I wasn’t aware of that. I don’t worry about records,” the Chilean said. “I just continue trying to add points, because it’ll be a close fight for the title this year.
“And we want to keep the title. Burnley have good players, but if you think that this is an easy game, then we’ll have problems. We’ll play against them as we would any other team.”
The gap between City and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea remains three points after both sides claimed victories on Friday.
Fernando, Yaya Toure — from the penalty spot — and David Silva were on the score-sheet as Pellegrini’s side provided an emphatic response to Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over West Ham earlier in the day.
They had been gifted the initiative early on by a poor West Brom side and, such was their dominance, they already had the game won by the time heavy snow made for hazardous playing conditions in the second half.
What has been particularly impressive about City of late is that they are sweeping aside all before them without a recognised striker.
Midfielder James Milner again led City’s front-line in the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, with the fit-again Stevan Jovetic only ready to be named among the substitutes.
– Irvine under scrutiny –
Pellegrini added: “We scored three goals again, even though we never had a striker. That’s not easy.
“When it was 3-0 it was important to avoid injuries. David Silva has a lot of skill inside the box, so we have options with him and other players, too.
“I’m not thinking about Chelsea at the moment. We need to win our games, we have to play against Burnley at home and there are 20 games to finish the title.
“The title is never finished in December. I am sure the race for the title is not just between two teams; there’ll be others involved also.
“How many other teams? I don’t know. (Manchester) United carry on winning. Anyone who can reach 86 points can win the title.
“It’s a very important month, and a key week. We have to play for nine points.
“It’s not the week that’ll decide the Premier League, but it’s important to be top of the table as soon as we can. That’ll be an advantage for the second half of the season.”
Alan Irvine’s West Brom, who scored a late consolation via Brown Ideye, have won only one of their last eight games, leaving the club just two points above the relegation zone.
Asked if he feared for his future, Irvine replied: “The chairman will make a decision as far as that’s concerned. I can’t control it.
“Can I be confident about it? No, not necessarily, because I don’t know what the thinking is. All I can do is keep working hard.”