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Man City V Chelsea at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

Updated 02 Feb 2014 14:31:00

Man City V Chelsea at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

Man City V Chelsea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Pellegrini plays down home record

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini does not expect his side's formidable home form to bother Chelsea - but is urging the team to carry on powering forward.


City have swept aside all comers to the Etihad Stadium in Barclays Premier League this season, winning all 11 of their games and scoring 42 goals in the process.


In all competitions, only European champions Bayern Munich have not been beaten at Eastlands.


Pellegrini intends to continue in much the same way even though Monday's clash with Chelsea has plenty riding on it in title terms.


The Chilean said: "I don't know what the other teams think.


"For us it is very important to think that it's a new game and we don't know if we are going to score a goal, and we are not just thinking of scoring goals.


"I think in football all that has happened in the past is not important.


"Maybe one team can be feared, another team cannot be feared. One can come here just to defend, another team will think it is better to attack.


"I don't know what will happen, but for our team it is very important not to think about the past.


"To do it again we must repeat exactly the way we are playing here at the Etihad."


The match has been given extra spice by some of the comments of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.


The Portuguese has a perceived rivalry with Pellegrini dating back to when he succeeded the City boss as Real Madrid coach in 2010.


Mourinho has said City must be the title favourites and that they will be expected to score several goals.


And although he did not name City, he has also provocatively suggested some clubs have a "dodgy" approach to financial fair play rules.


Yet if this is an attempt at mind games with Pellegrini, the South American is letting it go over his head.


Pellegrini has reacted with indifference to all of Mourinho's remarks.


Even when reminded of Mourinho's celebrations after Chelsea beat City in October, which appeared to irritate him at the time, Pellegrini has no opinion.


He said: "I remember perfectly but, I repeat, I don't want this game to be a thing about Mourinho and me."


Manchester City top scorer Sergio Aguero (hamstring) will miss Monday's crunch clash as he begins an anticipated month-long spell out.


He joins playmaker Samir Nasri (knee) on the sidelines while midfielder Javi Garcia is also out with a knock.


Midfielder James Milner could be back in contention after a groin problem.


Mohamed Salah could be included in Chelsea's squad after the Egypt winger trained with his new team-mates on Friday for the first time since joining from Basle.


Striker Fernando Torres (knee) remains out, while midfielder Marco van Ginkel (knee) is a long-term absentee.


Mourinho insists Chelsea go to the Etihad in search of a victory and not simply to stifle Manchester City.


Chelsea beat City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in October when a rush of blood from Joe Hart allowed Torres to score a last-gasp winner and have also beaten Manchester United and Liverpool at home.


Away from home, Mourinho's men have adopted a conservative approach against their rivals, with goalless draws at Manchester United and Arsenal and a 1-1 draw at Tottenham.


Given City's prolific nature, Mourinho believes a defensive approach will not be enough to halt Pellegrini's men.


"City score goals," Mourinho said.


"Normally, when your approach is very defensive, if you concede a goal you are in trouble.


"Or you have to make changes during the game and you never know how the players adapt to it."


Mourinho believes Chelsea are taking a longer-term view this season and that will not be compromised despite facing a rampant City.


"It's not because of one game against certain opponents that we are going to change our philosophy," Mourinho added.


"We are going to try to win knowing perfectly we can lose or draw. Our intention is to try to win."


City, who begin the contest three points clear of Chelsea, are Mourinho's title favourites, before he bids to mastermind a title assault next term.


"Our objective is to finish in a Champions League spot," Mourinho said.


"That's the competitive objective, because the greater objective is the improvement of the team and preparing the team for the future."



PA

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