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Manchester City will not go easy on Stoke, insists Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini the manager of Manchester City looks on
Image: Manuel Pellegrini is preparing for two important home games

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says he will not hold players back against Stoke this weekend with Tuesday's visit of Real Madrid in mind.

City need points to secure a place in the Premier League's top four and Pellegrini wants a strong performance against the Potters at the Etihad before switching his attention to the Champions League.

The Chilean said: "It's a very important game. We are involved in the semi-final of the Champions League, but that doesn't mean we are not worried about the Premier League.

"It was exactly the same against Paris Saint-Germain when we played the quarter-final. We had two important Premier League games and I said in that moment the best way to prepare is to win your next game.

"So, the best way to prepare for Tuesday is to try to beat Stoke, keep a clean sheet, try to score goals and play well. That will help a lot.

"You always have risk of an injury but for big teams you cannot choose one competition. It is very important to reach as near to the top of the table as we can and try to beat Real Madrid."

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Pellegrini says City must focus on their own performance

Pellegrini accepts that squad rotation is sometimes necessary but it has not been one of his regular selection traits.

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He said: "Without the final we need to play eight games in 30 days. If we continue with the same players maybe for the last two or three games you are not going to be with energy, so it's important to make some rotation.

"But it's important not to take the whole team out waiting for the game on Tuesday."

Leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero could be a candidate for a rest on Saturday after starting City's last 13 games, but Pellegrini looks set to continue with the striker.

He said: "Sergio is a very important player for us but I'm sure Real Madrid will play with their best squad on Saturday because they are also trying to win the league. All of them have the risk of an injury.

"I'm sure Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich will play their complete squads. So we are going to try to win that game with our best players."

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his second goal
Image: Aguero bagged a hat-trick against Chelsea last weekend

Stoke are destined to finish in mid-table and their form has tailed off with heavy defeats to Liverpool and Tottenham in their last two games.

But City were outplayed by the Potters in December, losing 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium, and Pellegrini has warned against complacency. "They played very well in Stoke," he added.

"It was a very good day when they had important players in their best performance. But every game is different. We need three points to keep our options for finishing third in the table. We need a good performance."

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