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Pellegrini wary of underdogs Everton

Manchester City boss, Manuel Pellegrini. PHOTO/File

Manchester City boss, Manuel Pellegrini. PHOTO/File

LONDON, January 27 – Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini expects his side to match the desire of an Everton side chasing their first piece of silverware in more than 20 years when they meet in Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final.

The Toffees, whose last major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup, head to Manchester with a 2-1 lead from the first leg.

Wednesday’s match will be the third meeting between the clubs in three weeks, with the sides having also played out a goalless draw in the Premier League.

Trophies have come thick and fast at City in recent years but Pellegrini is confident the desire of his team to win silverware has not been dimmed.

“It is the third time we are going to play against Everton in a month, so we know all about their team,” Pellegrini said Tuesday. “We know the way they play and their important players.

“But our performance is more important in trying to decide this semi-final at home.

“It is as important for us as it is them, it is important to play in the final at Wembley.

“Maybe Everton, who have not been in a final in many years, will be more motivated but I am sure our team will do all they can to play the final.

“One of the most important things is to reflect desire, a desire to play another final at Wembley.”

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Meanwhile Chilean boss Pellegrini said the fact City were behind in the tie would not alter their strategy.

“For both teams it is better not to play extra time but if we need to do it we will. I think it is more important to start not thinking about what you need and if you score an early goal to think the game is finished,” he explained.

“We are not going to change our style of play. We need to win here. We will try to score from the beginning.”

City are competing for trophies on four fronts but Pellegrini said his squad could handle the extra games.

“Maybe we will play more games than everyone else but I want to be involved in all competitions.

“From January 27 to February 27 we are going to play nine games, or 10 games if we have a replay, but I prefer that than being eliminated in these competitions.”

Pellegrini added Willy Caballero would replace first-choice Joe Hart in goal, as he has for all domestic cup ties this term.

England international Hart was praised for his performance at West Ham last weekend but Pellegrini was happy to stick by his policy.

“I think Joe Hart made a very good save from that free-kick, that is why he is our goalkeeper number one, but if we want to be involved in all the competitions we need the whole squad to do it,” he said. “We cannot do it with just 11 players.

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“One of the important reasons why Joe improves a lot is because he works with Willy every day and he feels he has competition behind him. I think Willy deserves to play these games.”

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