LONDON (REUTERS) - Defending champions Manchester City must win their eight Premier League football games before the end of the year if they are to challenge Chelsea for the title, manager Manuel Pellegrini said on Friday.
Third-placed City are eight points adrift of Jose Mourinho's unbeaten Chelsea and having won only one of their last six matches in all competitions, the Chilean wants his side to close the gap on the leaders if they are to retain the title.
"I think December and this week of November are decisive months for the Premier League," Pellegrini told a news conference ahead of the match against Swansea City on Saturday. "We are going to play eight games in the Premier League, we are going to finish the first round at the end of December.
"We have 24 more points to try to win. We have to try to do it, I think that is the only way.
"I think maybe we will not to be top of the table because Chelsea is in a very good moment, but I think it is important to have a good first round. That is more than 41 or 42 points."
City captain Vincent Kompany has recovered from a calf injury and will be available against Swansea, but Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva will all miss out.
City play German champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Despite sitting bottom of Group E and with their Champions League progress hanging in the balance, Pellegrini said his focus was firmly set on Swansea.
"Swansea are a very good technical side and we are expecting a difficult afternoon," the Chilean said. "We are not thinking about Europe, we are thinking about the Premier League.
"We must try to discount the points we have behind the leaders. It is very important to try to win.
"After we finish the game against Swansea we are going to start thinking about Bayern Munich."