LEICESTER: Manuel Pellegrini has told his Manchester City stars to build on their impressive European escape act as they look to overhaul Premier League leaders Chelsea.
City’s 2-0 victory at Roma on Wednesday allowed them to secure an improbable place in the last-16 of the Champions League after they had failed to win any of their first four group games.
But it is defending the Premier League title that is now top priority Pellegrini.
The City manager is determined to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea, who are only three points clear of the champions after losing their unbeaten record at Newcastle last weekend.
“The most important thing now is to switch. We have finished with the Champions League and don’t have to worry about that until February,” said Pellegrini ahead of today’s trip to bottom of the table Leicester.
“We have to play four more games in the Premier League in December which are very important to try to continue to count points up on Chelsea.
“We have 12 more points in December and that’s what our minds must be focused on 100 per cent.”
City will have to try and get those points without leading scorer Sergio Aguero, who is out for between four and six weeks with a knee ligament injury, while captain Vincent Kompany could also still be missing for the Leicester clash.
But they managed to beat Roma without Aguero, who has scored 19 times this season, and Pellegrini has been at pains to point out that City are not a one-man team.
“The same as Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Sergio is a very important player,” Pellegrini said.
City will look to maintain their winning run at Leicester before facing Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley — who are all in the Premier League’s bottom six — over the Christmas period.
Meanwhile, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson has been charged by the England FA with using abusive and/or insulting words to one of his own supporters in an outburst during the recent 3-1 home defeat by Liverpool.
And to make matters worse, Leicester’s former City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel this week broke a metatarsal (foot bone) in training.
The Denmark international, 28, was due to face surgery yesterday with Pearson admitting he would be out for at least a month and possibly even longer depending on the outcome of the operation. AFP