Pellegrini eyes Champions League


NORWICH. — Manuel Pellegrini urged his Manchester City players to refocus on the Champions League following their disappointing 0-0 draw against English Premier League soccer strugglers Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Pellegrini’s men were frustrated by a resolute Norwich side battling to retain their top-flight status and were left nine points adrift of leaders Leicester City, who host Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United today.

Pellegrini refused to rule his side out of the title race, but said that Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 second-leg clash with Dynamo Kiev at the Etihad Stadium, in which City lead 3-1, is now the immediate priority.

“Every time you drop points in the Premier League it becomes more difficult,” the Chilean said after Saturday’s encounter. But it will not change my mind. We think we can do it, but the most important thing now is to focus on the Champions League game that we play on Tuesday night to try and qualify for the next stage.

“After that we have to play against Manchester United on Sunday and we try to win again the three points. At the end of the season we see how many points we have.” A concern for City has been the recent form of Spanish playmaker David Silva.

Against Norwich, only Sergio Aguero posed a genuine goal threat, with Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas and Silva all unable to make significant attacking contributions.

Silva (30) has been a creative force for City in the last few seasons, but he has rarely met his own exacting standards in the current campaign.

“He is playing with some problem in his ankle, but not a problem that does not allow him to play,” Pellegrini said.

“He is not 100 percent comfortable, but I think today (Saturday) he tried in different ways. I think that Aguero also tried. All of our players tried, but we just couldn’t do it.” — AFP.

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