Pellegrini plays down quadruple talk for City

LONDON • After Manchester City celebrated a quadruple of goals on Saturday, their manager Manuel Pellegrini urged them to take their minds off a potential quadruple of trophies.

City finished off a good week in consecutive knockout competitions by cruising past Aston Villa 4-0 in the FA Cup fourth round, just three days after making it past Everton to reach the League Cup final.

They are also into the knockout stages of the Champions League, but Pellegrini knows that his side must be focused for tomorrow's visit to Sunderland and cannot afford to slip up in the Premier League.

"We've had good results in both Cups, but that is finished now and we must focus our minds on some very important games in the Premier League," said the Chilean, whose side are second in the league - three points behind Leicester City.

"I don't think that's a good way of thinking, to think about trying to win everything. We must try and demonstrate with our performance that we are able to try and do well in all the competitions.

  • 8

  • Number of goals Manchester City teenager Kelechi Iheanacho has scored this season: four in the FA Cup and two each in the Premier League and League Cup.

"In my first season here we won two titles, but were out of the FA Cup in the quarter-finals. This season we're in the Champions League round of 16, so we must try and improve in that competition also.

"Our mind is not on what we can win, it is on the games we need to win. We have so many injured players that the FA Cup is more difficult because we have important games in the Premier League."

One issue he will not be overly concerned by is goals, after youngster Kelechi Iheanacho helped himself to a hat-trick in Sergio Aguero's absence at Villa Park.

"I see him working every day, so I know what he can do in the game," said the City manager. "I received some criticism about not replacing Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko at the beginning of the season. My answer was that we have Kelechi."

Iheanacho, 19, opened the scoring in the fourth minute, netted a 24th-minute penalty and then seized on a loose Idrissa Gueye back-pass to complete his hat-trick 16 minutes from time, before Raheem Sterling added a fourth.

Despite the margin of defeat, beaten manager Remi Garde said it would not damage his side's confidence. A five-match unbeaten run had Villa showing signs of life in their relegation battle, but Garde paid the price for fielding a weakened side against City.

"I didn't make change for change's sake," said the Frenchman, whose side are bottom of the league table. "We have players that can't cope with three games in quick succession."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Pellegrini plays down quadruple talk for City'. Print Edition | Subscribe