NORWICH // Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is concerned the goalless draw at Norwich City will prove costly in the Premier League title race.
Pellegrini had made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea as they looked to take full advantage of Arsenal's 5-1 defeat at Liverpool.
However, it was relegation-threatened Norwich – stuffed 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in November – who raised their game and soaked up plenty of pressure to earn what for them could be a crucial point in their fight to stay up.
Despite dominating for large spells, City failed to create many clear openings after hitting the crossbar in the first half through an Alvaro Negredo header.
City are now in third place, two points behind new leaders Chelsea.
“I don’t know if it’s a missed opportunity because today Norwich played a very good game. They defended very well and we couldn’t score,” Pellegrini said.
“I was concerned about this match and it was exactly the same when we played Chelsea because we have a lot of players who are not 100 per cent fit.
“Maybe it was a good opportunity, but we are still two points behind the leaders.”
Pellegrini accepted his previous free-scoring side lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
“[Yaya] Toure played today in a defensive role and that’s why we lost a little bit in attack, but at the moment Fernandinho and [Javi] Garcia are not fit,” he said.
“It’s exactly the same with our strikers, with Negredo and [Edin] Dzeko. Everybody has been talking about how many goals we score and how we concede them when we defend, but the most difficult thing is scoring goals.
“In the last two games, with our strikers not being fit, we couldn’t do it and without a goal you can’t win a game.”
Toure appeared to kick out at substitute Ricky van Wolfswinkel during the closing stages, which was not spotted by referee Jon Moss.
Pellegrini said: “I am not concerned about that. I didn’t see it.”
Crystal Palace 3 West Brom 1
Tom Ince and Joe Ledley scored on their debuts as Crystal Palace sent West Bromwich Albion into the Premier League relegation zone with a 3-1 win.
Having both joined Palace on the final day of the January transfer window, Ince and Ledley scored in the first half to set the London club on their way to a third win in four league outings.
Defeat sent Pepe Mel’s West Brom into the bottom three.
Swansea City 3 Cardiff City 0
Swansea City beat rivals Cardiff City 3-0 in the South Wales derby, just days after manager Michael Laudrup was sacked.
In Gary Monk’s first game in charge as stand-in manager, Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony all netted in the second half to help Swansea move up to 10th.
The tight relegation fight is highlighted by the fact there are just four points separating Swansea and 18th-placed West Brom after West Ham United won 2-0 away at Aston Villa to move out of the relegation zone.
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