Pellegrini eager to build on success and get more Manchester City players in Ballon d’Or reckoning

Manager sets target of 'three or four more' players being heralded with their Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich peers

Manchester City's Yaya Toure, left, and West Ham's Stewart Downing in action during their English Premier League match at Upton Park in London on October 25, 2014. Sean Dempsey / EPA
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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini wants to see more of his players challenging to win the Ballon d’Or.

City midfielder Yaya Toure has been named on a 23-man shortlist to win the 2014 Fifa world player of the year award.

Toure stood out as City won the Premier League last season and Pellegrini believes more of his players should be striving to hit those standards.

Pellegrini hopes this will come as a natural consequence of City’s continued growth and increasing importance on the European stage.

The Chilean has already spoken this season about striker Sergio Aguero, who has scored 11 goals in 12 games this season, as a potential Ballon d'Or winner.

He said: "I don't know all the players who are nominated, but I always say we need more players who are nominated for those awards.

“It is very important to try and continue improving in Europe. It cannot always be Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern [Munich]. I think it is the challenge for our players to be nominated. Not just Yaya, at least three or four more.”

Pellegrini has earned a nomination for Fifa’s coach of the year award after an impressive first season in England, which brought victory in the League Cup and league title.

Pellegrini, 61, said: “It is something that makes me happy, but it is not something I think too much about.

“In my career maybe I put my seasons with different clubs, where it was difficult to achieve things, on top.

“But obviously I am very happy, but it is not my principal concern.”

Pellegrini's priorities are a successful title defence and establishing City in the Uefa Champions League.

City slipped up on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 at West Ham United and trail league leaders Chelsea by six points, but Pellegrini is not worried yet.

“Of course, we are disappointed because I don’t think we deserved to lose,” he said.

"But I think all the teams will drop points and in this case it was our team. There are 87 points more to fight for."

Pellegrini will consider changes as they continue their League Cup defence with a fourth-round tie at home to Newcastle United on Wednesday.

But the former Real Madrid coach maintains the competition is of high importance.

He said: “It is very important for the club to win trophies. It doesn’t matter which competition we are playing. We are trying to win the four competitions in the same way.

“As I said last year, always winning a title at Wembley has extra things, [it is] maybe the most important stadium in the world with 80,000 people seeing, so always it is very important.”

Newcastle have lifted some of the gloom over their position with wins in their past two games, and Pellegrini is ready for a difficult contest.

He said: “I try not to analyse the rivals, only considering the last results.

“They are important players, all the teams here in England have strong squads, so I am sure we must play very well tomorrow if we want to win.”

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