Thursday 17 April 2014
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says his side can still win the Barclays Premier League title despite being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland.
The draw, which follows hot on the heels of Sunday's 3-2 defeat at title rivals Liverpool, leaves City trailing in the table. They are six points behind leaders Liverpool and four behind second-placed Chelsea, with a match in hand on both, but with only five matches left to play.
"Of course, our chances are now less. Three points was very important for us tonight, but we will continue fighting," said Pellegrini after the match.
"This team was six points behind the leaders two years ago and won the title"
"I don't think we played with any less confidence following the game against Liverpool. We have five games more in which to play. Liverpool has a better chance than us [of winning the league] and Chelsea but we will continue fighting until the end.
"Before the match I was worried about this game. Playing against a team fighting relegation is very difficult and we had only four days to get over the Liverpool game.
"At the end of the season we will analyse. We have five games more to play and we will continue to have chances. My duty is now to talk to the players and to win the last five games. This team was six points behind the leaders two years ago and won the title."
It looked as if City would claim a vital three points as they took the lead on two minutes through midfielder Fernandinho. But the home side could not add to their advantage and two goals in 10 second-half minutes from Connor Wickham put the Black Cats ahead with seven minutes to go.
City did equalise late on when Samir Nasri's shot was spilled by goalkeeper Vito Mannone but Sunderland hung on for the point.
Sunderland remain bottom of the table, six points from safety and with a match in hand, but the performance at the Etihad Stadium has given Gus Poyet hope for the battles ahead, which start with a trip to Chelsea on Saturday evening.
"The fans can see that we are a team that is going to fight until the end"
"The message we wanted to send is that we’re still here, still prepared to battle and fight for this football club and I think we did that tonight," he told the club website.
"Yes, we conceded a goal after two minutes. But that doesn't matter, we're the same team and you have to go out there and continue to play the way you know you can. We didn’t give up or collapse, we kept believing, kept going and kept creating chances and we nearly won the game.
"I'm sure now we will go to Chelsea with renewed confidence and with the aim to perform like today. The fans can see that we are a team that is going to fight until the end."
Poyet also had a word of comfort for Mannone, who could do nothing as Nasri's shot agonisingly crept over the line.
"He has been outstanding for us, but we need to be realistic we were up against a top team and they have some dangerous players on the pitch," added Poyet. "When we celebrate the victories we celebrate together and then when something doesn't go our way we suffer together. We will help him to recover quickly because we have another tough game on Saturday."
Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland | #MCISUN | For more, visit the Matchday Page >>