As Manchester City suffered a second successive home defeat on Saturday afternoon, Manuel Pellegrini admits he is worried about his side’s form.
The Premier League champions fell to a 2-0 home loss against Arsenal last Sunday, meaning they remain five points adrift of league leaders Chelsea after 22 rounds of fixtures. If this result raised a few eyebrows it was nothing compared to what happened this weekend, when Championship side Middlesbrough stunned the Etihad Stadium with a 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win.
City must now pick themselves up ahead of next Saturday, when they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Jose Mourinho’s team in a match they simply cannot afford to lose. Speaking after the shock defeat on Saturday, Pellegrini admits he is concerned about the form of his side, who looked to be getting close to their best earlier this winter when they won nine games on the bounce.
“I am concerned, not because of the Chelsea game, but because in the last two games here at home we didn’t score goals and because in the last (five) games here at home we conceded two goals in (four of them),” said the Chilean tactician. “Maybe in one week we threw to the trash all we did in December. We need to try to recover our performance in attack and in defence.”
Defeat to Chelsea would leave City trailing the Londoners by eight points, and some would say that could be too big a margin even with 15 more fixtures to play. Indeed, if the chasing pack of Southampton, Manchester United and Arsenal all collect wins next weekend, Pellegrini may even be looking over his shoulder in regards to a top-four finish.