Premier League: City boss Manuel Pellegrini denies being under pressure on eve of Manchester derby

Manuel Pellegrini
Image: Manuel Pellegrini: Under pressure?

Manuel Pellegrini insists he is not feeling the pressure as he goes into the Manchester derby on the back of a faltering Champions League draw and two domestic defeats.

The champions have had a less-than-convincing start to the season, losing two of their opening nine Premier League matches and struggling in the Champions League.

To compound matters they were dumped out of the Capital One Cup, which they also won last season, 2-0 by an under-strength Newcastle in midweek.

Pellegrini now faces a critical few days with arch-rivals Manchester United visiting the Etihad on Sunday and a crucial Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

More questions will be asked of the Chilean and his methods if they suffer further damage in those two fixtures but he claims not to be aware of any pressure.

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"I don't know what pressure (there is)," said the 61-year-old, who is renowned for his calmness.

"I think it is very difficult to analyse the season when it is just in October, when you have just played nine Premier League games and you don't know whether or not you are going to qualify in the Champions League.

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"It is the reality that we are eliminated from the Capital One Cup - but last year we were the only (title-contending) team to continue in the Capital One, so maybe the other teams will have more difficulties this season when they have to play so many games."

City have not won in their last three games, having surrendered a two-goal lead to draw at CSKA Moscow and then lost 2-1 at West Ham prior to the Newcastle cup defeat.

Pellegrini is dismissive of suggestions rival managers have worked City out.

"I don't agree with you that they know how we play," said Pellegrini at a press conference on Friday. "I normally think that the players' performance in that (particular) game makes the difference."

He points to the experience of last season when, like now, they trailed the Premier League leaders by six points and turned the situation around.

He said: "I am sure that our team will be again the strong team that we were in the second half of last year."

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