Man City V Watford at Etihad Stadium : LIVE

25 January 2014 09:13
Man City V Watford - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

No concerns for Pelligrini

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident his side can maintain their ferocious pace until the end of the season.

City are still in contention for four trophies and have scored a remarkable 106 goals in their 35 games so far this term.

They have won 16 of their last 18 matches - and drawn the other two - stretching back to the last international break in November.

Only once during that run have they had a gap of more than four days between games and the fixtures continue to come thick and fast.

Fresh from securing their place in the Capital One Cup final in midweek, City host Watford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday before travelling to Tottenham in the Barclays Premier League next Wednesday.

Despite the tough schedule, Pellegrini has no concerns that his team could run out of steam.

The Chilean said: "No, I don't think we are going to have some problems in that sense.

"Maybe we will have problems with other teams - they are good teams - but I think we are making good rotations during the whole year.

"Also, the way we play we have a lot of possession of the ball, so we rest by not always running after the ball."

Pellegrini's determination to play an exciting, attacking brand of football has not wavered, no matter which XI he sends out on the field.

He sees no reason to have to compromise his beliefs just because the depth of his squad might be tested in the coming months, particularly when the Champions League challenge resumes next month.

The 60-year-old said: "The style, of course we are going to try and continue until the end.

"I don't know if we are going to win all the games but we are going to try to continue.

"I said from the beginning of the season that the most important thing is to have a style and after that to have an 11 starters."

Pellegrini's predecessor Roberto Mancini this week suggested he should receive some credit for the way City are playing this season.

Mancini assembled much of the squad and led City to Premier League and FA Cup success before being sacked last May.

Pellegrini, speaking at a press conference, was not interested in responding to Mancini's comments.

He said: "I don't think anything about that. If it is his opinion, everyone can say what he thinks is true.

"I am not the best person to analyse. It is not for me or him to compare."

City will be expected to brush aside the challenge of Watford, who are 15th in the Sky Bet Championship, at the Etihad Stadium.

But after being taken to a replay by another second-tier side in Blackburn in the last round, Pellegrini is taking nothing for granted.

He said: "It is a team that is not in a very good position in the Championship but all the managers know the cup games are different games.

"There is more motivation for a Championship team to beat a Premier League team so I am absolutely sure we are going to have a very difficult game."

City, who beat Watford in the third round last year, will not risk top scorer Alvaro Negredo or playmaker David Silva due to shoulder and hamstring injuries respectively.

Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia insists he and his team-mates cannot afford to be daunted by the prospect of facing last year's finalists.

Almunia faces the unenviable task of trying to stop free-scoring City on Saturday, and Watford's players have shared jokes about the difficulty of the task ahead.

"The numbers and statistics are there for everyone to see," said Almunia.

"We have been joking in the dressing room about how many they are scoring, but you always look forward to big games and goalkeepers always expect they'll have a lot of work to do.

"It's not just (Sergio) Aguero, (Edin) Dzeko and (Alvaro) Negredo because the wingers are scoring goals - and the midfielders as well.

"We will not be able to make any mistakes because they will punish us but it is a gift for us to play against one of the best teams in the world and we are looking forward to it.

"We know the quality of their players so there is nothing new for us to discover.

"But the whole team will need to work very hard. We will prepare the best we can to get a result but maybe we will have to play with 12 or 13 players!

"The way to try to stop them is for every one of our players to think positively. We have to go there with confidence because when your mind thinks positively, your body responds better. We will not be scared to play our football in a confident way.

"When I was at Arsenal and we played against teams from the Football League, we were always wary of them because we knew they would play with high intensity.

"Manchester City will be confident but they will know that our players will want to show that we can play at the highest level."

Watford will be without Lewis McGugan and Iriney as they attempt to become the first English club to win at City this season.

McGugan is ruled out with a thigh problem while Iriney has a groin strain. They join suspended duo Fitz Hall and Alexander Merkel and the cup-tied Hector Bellerin on the sidelines.

However, Marco Cassetti has been passed fit after overcoming the knee problem that has kept him sidelined since the start of January, while loanee Mathias Ranegie could make his Hornets debut.

Source: PA

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