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Pellegrini only has eyes for Manchester City

AFP , Sunday 22 Mar 2015
Manchester City
Manchester City's coach Manuel Pellegrini looks out from the bench before their Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match against Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona March 18, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said he was only interested in his own team's results after they maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea by beating West Bromwich Albion.

Saturday's 3-0 victory cut Chelsea's lead to just three points, although the London club, who were due to visit Hull City on Sunday, have two games in hand over Pellegrini's defending champions.

Despite a winning response to the mid-week Champions League exit at Barcelona, Pellegrini is aware that the odds are heavily stacked against his side retaining the title they won dramatically 12 months ago.

"We're not thinking about that," said Pellegrini. "We have to play eight games more now and we can win the eight games and if Chelsea doesn't drop points, we cannot win the title.

"The important thing is not to think about other teams, but to think about our team, improve, and win the next game, which is against Crystal Palace.

"Of course it's always important to return to a victory after you have lost the last game. And we lost the last two games in different competitions, Wednesday in the Champions League and against Burnley in the Premier League. It was important to return to victory."

Pellegrini said he would not even be watching Chelsea's game at Hull, preferring instead to watch the meeting between Liverpool and Manchester United, whom City play next month.

But with goals from Wilfried Bony, Fernando and David Silva, at least Pellegrini went into the 10-day international break on a winning note, albeit one tinged with controversy.

After barely 60 seconds of play, referee Neil Swarbrick sent off West Brom defender Gareth McAuley for a foul on Bony, even though the infringement had been committed by his teammate Craig Dawson.


Swarbrick admitted his error at halftime and apologised after the game, but furious West Brom manager Tony Pulis called for the football authorities to introduce not only video replays but also a 'challenge' system that would allow managers to contest contentious calls.

"I watched the Wolves-Derby game last night and there was a very similar incident in that game where the Wolves player stopped a player going through with no-one behind him and the ref gave a free-kick and didn't even book him," said Pulis.

"So the inconsistency there is one thing, but once he decides it's a goalscoring opportunity and he has to send him off, I just can't believe he picked the wrong player. It's just beyond me.

"For the second goal, (Eliaquim) Mangala kicks Saido (Berahino) in the face, so I think it's a poor decision. Refereeing is not easy, especially at the level we're at now – how quick the game is.

"This product is one of the greatest products this country now sells all over the world. There is no point criticising and moaning about referees, but I would definitely call now for managers to have two calls every game where it's 30 seconds where you can have a video link-up with the people upstairs who can watch on video.

"Clubs can make money out of it by putting sponsors' names on the scoreboard and it would help eradicate major decisions that the referee has got wrong.

"I think we've got to work very hard to get that in what is the greatest league in the world and the sooner that comes in, the better."

Defeat left West Brom in 13th place in the table, eight points above the relegation zone.

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