Manchester City’s winning streak leaves Pellegrini feeling vindicated

Reigning Premier League champions rejuvenated after winning past three matches in all competitions
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during the English Premier League match against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on November 30, 2014, in Southampton, England.  Mike Hewitt / Getty Images
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during the English Premier League match against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on November 30, 2014, in Southampton, England. Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

Manchester City were never out of the title race and the Premier League champions did not need to change their style despite a frustrating start to the season, manager Manuel Pellegrini said on Tuesday.

City produced a fine attacking display to beat high-flying Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s on Sunday, a result that lifted them above the south coast side into second in the table and closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to six points.

Pellegrini’s rejuvenated side, who have won their past three matches in all competitions, travel to the Stadium of Light on Wednesday to face a Sunderland team who played out a goalless draw with Jose Mourinho’s table-topping Chelsea on Saturday.

“We were never out of the fight for the title,” Pellegrini said. “We have to play a lot more games and there are too many points to play for.

“I said before these three games, we weren’t playing too badly. Maybe we made some mistakes, but we did not change our style and our trust.”

City captain Vincent Kompany injured his hamstring against Southampton and is in doubt to face Sunderland, while his centre-back partner Eliaquim Mangala is suspended after being sent off at St Mary’s.

In the absence of Kompany and Mangala, Dedryck Boyata and Bacary Sagna could start alongside Martin Demichelis in the heart of the City defence.

“We’ll know this afternoon [Tuesday] exactly what Vincent has,” said Pellegrini, who will also be without the injured trio of Aleksandar Kolarov, David Silva and Edin Dzeko for the trip to Sunderland.

“He has an injury to his hamstring – we’ll see how long it will be.

“We have Boyata working well, we have Demichelis and we have Sagna. We have options and we’ll see which two of them will play.”

Having drawn 2-2 at the Etihad Stadium last season and lost 1-0 at the Stadium of Light, Pellegrini is aware of the threat posed by Gus Poyet’s side.

City have failed to win in their past five trips to the Stadium of Light and have beaten Sunderland only once in their past six league meetings.

“Sunderland are a tough team to play against, they defend well,” Pellegrini said. “We hope we will have more luck there this year.

“They have a very good manager who knows the Premier League.”

Sunderland are looking to remain unbeaten for a fifth straight game, and former City midfielder Adam Johnson said they would seek to attack Pellegrini’s side at every ­opportunity.

“You only have to look at the players they have in their squad to see it will be a difficult game,” Johnson said.

“But we’re up for the challenge against them, just like we were last season, and maybe we can catch them off guard once again.”

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: December 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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