A shock defeat by Burnley leaves the reigning Premier League champions five points behind Chelsea, who have two games in hand, but the Chilean is not ready to give up
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini issued a rallying call to his players after their Premier League title defence suffered a big blow in their 1-0 defeat at Burnley.
George Boyd scored the only goal just after the hour at Turf Moor, which moved the hosts to within one point of fourth-bottom Sunderland in the table.
Defeat leaves champions City five points behind leaders Chelsea, who play one of their two games in hand at home to Southampton on Sunday.
“When you have mathematical chances, you must continue fighting,” Pellegrini told reporters. “The most important thing is trust in what we are doing, try to win the next game and we will see at the end of the season where we finish.
“We are in second in the table so that is not bad. There are 27 more points that we must fight for. We know that, [with] every point we drop, it is more difficult to reach the top of the table.”
Pellegrini argues that his side had not played badly against Burnley but that they had not created enough chances.
“I don’t think we played really bad. We created three or four chances. Burnley had, I think, one shot on target and they scored a goal,” he added. “That was a normal performance that we need to improve and we will try to do it.”
Pellegrini refused to criticise his players for their effort when asked if he felt that his side had played badly or lacked desire, continuing: “I am sure that they tried to give everything but maybe it was not a good day creatively.”
The City boss also revealed that midfielder James Milner was not risked on Saturday because of a knee injury, with one eye on the midweek second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona.
“Milner had a kick to his knee so it was important for him to rest. I hope that he will be fit for Wednesday,” Pellegrini said.