Man City V West Ham at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

08 January 2014 04:05
Man City V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hammers will test us - Pellegrini

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini expects his under-fire West Ham counterpart Sam Allardyce to bounce back from his weekend FA Cup humiliation.

A weakened Hammers side were thrashed 5-0 by Sky Bet Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday, increasing the pressure on Allardyce.

West Ham are 19th in the Barclays Premier League having not won in that competition since November but Pellegrini is reading little into that form ahead of their midweek meeting.

Allardyce's side are at the Etihad Stadium for the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Pellegrini said: "They had an awful result but I don't think they played with their best XI. They played with young players.

"I am absolutely sure it will be a very different game to what they played on Sunday.

"I think that in this job as a manager - in any club, in every part of the world - you are always under a lot of pressure.

"When the results are not the results the club wants, maybe sometimes it can be more nervous, but I think he is doing very good work in West Ham so I don't think he will have any problems."

Nevertheless, City, with their formidable home record, will be expected to win comfortably and take a big stride towards a place in the final.

That would put City, and Pellegrini, in clear sight of a first trophy since he took over.

With City also in contention in the Premier League and still in the Champions League and FA Cup the season has much potential, but Pellegrini is not looking too far ahead.

He said: "We are not thinking about the four trophies. We are just thinking about winning the next game we have to play.

"It is one of the two games of the semi-final of Capital One, it is very important and we play here at home.

"We are going to have to have a very good performance to try to win against West Ham.

"After West Ham, we will think only about Newcastle. We are not thinking about the trophies, only the present."

After some rampant displays at home in recent months - notably scoring seven against Tottenham and six against Arsenal - Pellegrini knows how important another strong display could be.

He said: "It is very important to play the first leg here at home.

"We will try to win and if we can score more than one goal at home it will be very important also for the second leg."

Sam Allardyce insists it is not win or bust for his out-of-form Hammers.

With a 5-0 FA Cup mauling at Nottingham Forest coming on the back of a run of one win in 13 Barclays Premier League games, the final four meeting with City is a welcome distraction for Allardyce's side.

The dismal December run means West Ham sit 19th in the league but Allardyce will not be too downbeat if his side fail to pick up a rare win at the Etihad Stadium and just wants to remain in the tie.

"We don't have to beat them on Wednesday night," he said.

"We have to come back with something realistic to beat them at home if we can. We have to stay as focused as we can and we have to nullify what is a great attacking force at home. Everybody knows what that is and how good that is."

Allardyce has cited the example of Crystal Palace, who pushed City all the way in a 1-0 defeat in December.

He said: "We have to work along the lines of what Crystal Palace did recently which was be very well organised, be a very well structured team that makes it extremely difficult for the talents that Manchester City have got.

"Hopefully we can do that on Wednesday night and when we come to the end of the game it's only half-time at that stage."

The 59-year-old fielded an inexperienced side at Forest with just 14 available first-team players and, with his current injury plight, Allardyce cannot enjoy the semi-final experience as much as he would like.

"I would have preferred it to come with a lot more players fit and not in this position that we're in at the moment but we have to face the reality of what comes along in football," he added.

"We are in a very exciting cup tie with a massive, massive feeling of joy at the end of it if, as big as the game is and the underdogs that we are, we believe that we can get there and believe that we can get to Wembley.

"With a bit of luck, a bit of fortune and the right amount of organisation, desire and commitment from the players we feel as though we can give it our best shot.

"We don't have the same pressure we experience in the Premier League that is for certain. It is a competition where we know at this time it is over two legs, in the earlier stages you say 'it is either win or we are out'."

Source: PA