Manuel Pellegrini has a full squad to choose from for the trip to Stoke on Wednesday but the Chilean has insisted he isn’t feeling the heat after Manchester City’s deficit behind league leaders Chelsea increased to seven points following last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to Hull City.
“I never feel pressure, my only pressure is my own pressure that I make myself when I don’t think the team is playing well.” said Pellegrini who wasn’t overly concerned about what is normally a tricky trip to the Potteries.
“I think Stoke is a very good team, always a difficult team to play against when we go there but all the games are different and we will try and win the three points.
“If we win tomorrow we will have one point less than this time last season and then we will have ten days in which to work.”
Ivory Coast players Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony, who played last Sunday in Equatorial Guinea, will be the only missing players as City look to restart their Premier League campaign which has faltered in January after being dead level with them on New Year’s Day.
A 3-2 win at home to Sunderland, in which the sparingly used Frank Lampard scored, was City’s last Premier League victory in a poor sequence which saw them fail to win four Premier League games – draws against Everton, Chelsea and Hull and loss at home to Arsenal.
The FA Cup win at home on January 4 against Sheffield Wednesday was City’s last win and ironically Yaya Toure’s final game before he went away on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast and his absence will have stretched well over a month by the time he returns with new City striker Bony, both of them clutching their winners’ medals.
Pellegrini repeated that City don’t just rely on one player, such as Toure, but City haven’t won a game without him since April last year.
One man who was said to have been signed to fill the gap left by Toure during his absence this month was Frank Lampard.
While his effectiveness is not in doubt, the veteran English midfielder hasn’t started a game for City or scored a goal during Toure’s absence, and didn’t even get off the bench for the draw with Hull.
“He will continue playing in ways that I think is useful for the team.
“I think he can play 90 minutes but it’s important that he makes more of a difference coming on after 50 or 60 minutes.”