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Pellegrini puzzled by hit-and-miss Man City

25 Nov 2013 01:31:55

Pellegrini puzzled by hit-and-miss Man City

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted he cannot explain the disparity between his side's home and away form after their 6-0 demolition of Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

City have won all six of their home games this season -- the only team in the English Football League to have done so -- and have plundered a Premier League record 26 goals.

Their victories at the Etihad Stadium also include a 4-1 thrashing of defending champions Manchester United and a 7-0 evisceration of Norwich City, but their away form is a different matter entirely.

City have won just once on the road, at West Ham United, and it is due to defeats at Cardiff City, Aston Villa, Chelsea and bottom club Sunderland that they find themselves six points behind leaders Arsenal.

"This team at home score more than four goals a game. The problem is away," Pellegrini said.

"I don't think we play so differently away from home. We normally have more chances than the home team. They don't have a lot of possession of the ball.

"But for different reasons we have not had the results we wanted. I am absolutely sure if we continue to play like this we will get results away from home."

Jesus Navas opened the scoring after only 14 seconds of Sunday's game and completed the scoring in injury time, with a Sandro own goal, a brace from Sergio Aguero and a superb Alvaro Negredo strike swelling City's lead in between.

Tottenham trail City by only two points, but their title aspirations have been exposed by a run of three games without victory that includes a 1-0 loss at home to Newcastle United in their previous outing.

Spurs had not lost by six goals in the league since a 7-1 thrashing by Newcastle in 1996 and manager Andre Villas-Boas conceded that their afternoon at the Etihad Stadium would take some time to digest.

"To lose 6-0 is extremely embarrassing," said the Portuguese coach.

"We have high expectations for the season and losing to a rival by that scoreline is always difficult. A defeat like this tends to stick more to your career than the good things you achieve.

"Our game plan, our confidence and motivation was affected after we suffered a goal in 13 seconds (sic). It is a bad moment. We have to be ashamed of the result."

City's attack shredded a defence that had previously conceded just six goals in the league, while the Spurs attack has registered only nine goals despite several big-money signings during the close season.

However, Villas-Boas cited the inconsistency of his team's rivals as a reason to remain optimistic over the campaign's winter months.

"The only thing that is astonishing in this league is that surprising results can happen," said the former Chelsea manager, whose side trail second-place Liverpool by only four points.

"City are on four defeats. We are on four defeats, at such an early stage in the season.

"The December and January results will be vital in how the league will finish. At the moment you can be third or ninth. That is the reality."

City will now turn their attentions to Wednesday's Champions League game at home to Czech champions Viktoria Pilsen, having already secured a place in the last 16.

Pellegrini revealed that goalkeeper Joe Hart would start the game, after he was left on the bench in favour of Romanian understudy Costel Pantilimon for the fifth game in succession against Spurs.

"Joe Hart will play on Wednesday," said the Chilean.

Pellegrini also disclosed that captain Vincent Kompany is due to return to training later this week after spending close to two months on the sidelines with a thigh injury.


AFP

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