City would make a worthy champion, says Pellegrini
Updated: 2014-05-09 07:12
By Agence France-Presse in Manchester, UK (China Daily)
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his side would make a deserving Premier League champion after it swept to the verge of glory by crushing Aston Villa 4-0.
City now requires only a point at home to West Ham United on Sunday to secure the title, having taken its goal tally to 100 by vanquishing Villa with a second-half onslaught at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
After an Edin Dzeko brace put City in command, substitute Stevan Jovetic added a third goal before Yaya Toure brought up the century in memorable fashion with a driving run from inside his own half.
"Now we can talk about the title, because if we win the next game we are going to win the title," Pellegrini said.
"I think it will be very important, not only the title, but in the way we are going to win the title, if finally we win it.
"I think we have a style of play, I think we are an attractive team, I think we score many goals and we are always thinking to score more goals.
"That to me has the same importance as winning the title. The way we play the whole season, I hope we will play the next game the same way. I am very happy to manage this team this way."
While nearest rival Liverpool has itself amassed 99 goals, third-place Chelsea-which can no longer win the title-has been criticized for adopting a reactive approach in its recent matches.
Pellegrini was wary of drawing comparisons with his side's rivals, but he said he was proud City has closed to within touching distance of the title by playing an effervescent brand of attacking soccer.
"There are different ways to win titles," said the Chilean, who would become the first non-European coach to win the Premier League.
"I choose this one, with attractive football, so that the fans enjoy the season. Maybe you can win titles other ways. For me, the aesthetic part is very important."
Toure: complete midfielder
Toure's goal was his 20th of the season in the league and it was a fitting way to bring up the milestone, as the giant Ivorian drove through the heart of the Villa defense before spearing a shot past Brad Guzan.
"It's an amazing amount of goals," said Pellegrini.
"I'm very happy for Yaya because maybe when we started the season, and in the middle of the season, he had a lot of criticism because he didn't have as much power to arrive to the goal and mark (score).
"I think Yaya is absolutely the complete midfielder in the way he plays. We have a very good build-up with him, he scores goals, and he plays with freedom to do what he thinks is best."
City has only topped the table for 11 days this season, but Pellegrini explained the anomaly by pointing to the fact it had been forced to play catch-up due to its commitments in other competitions.
"It is a strange season maybe, because we were never top of the table," he said.
"Everyone said we were favorites, but we were nine points behind Liverpool and eight points behind Chelsea.
"We had three games in hand, but we must win all those games. Now we are top of the table and I hope we are not going to lose next Sunday, but we must win the way we did today."
Villa had already secured its Premier League status and manager Paul Lambert described steering the Birmingham club clear of relegation as "one of the greatest thing I've done in my time".
However, with American owner Randy Lerner due to issue a statement on his plans for the club in the coming days, Lambert admitted his future at Villa Park is in the balance.
"I'll wait with bated breath for what the chairman will say," he said.
"He'll decide. I honestly don't know. He'll decide when he'll say it and what he's going to say and I'll respect whatever decision he makes."
SUNDERLAND SEALS GREAT ESCAPE TO STAY UP
Sunderland completed its great escape from what had seemed certain relegation when a 2-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday ensured it would be playing Premier League soccer next season.
First-half goals from Jack Colback and Fabio Borini saw Sunderland to its fourth successive win, a result that took the north-east side five points clear of the relegation zone.
Victory for Gus Poyet's men all but relegated Norwich, which has only a slim mathematical chance of not joining already-down Cardiff and Fulham in the second-tier Championship next season.
A few weeks earlier, Uruguayan manager Poyet said his side needed a "miracle" to stay up but that was duly achieved as the Black Cats won four Premier League matches in a row for the first time since December 2000.
"I don't know if you will see something similar ever again," Poyet said. "We are the second team in the Premier League to be bottom at Christmas and stay up.
"With (wins over Manchester) City, Chelsea and United away from home, to be seven points away from safety and to do it with a game to spare is amazing.
"It's been an incredibly difficult season. For moments it looked like we were going down. I will start believing in miracles from now on and it's one of the best days of my life today."
Midfielder Colback said: "After the Tottenham and Everton games everyone wrote us off but I think that helped us.
"To get the win tonight makes it feel good, I feel relief. It's been a long, tough season.
"Gus Poyet has been brilliant since he came in. He is positive and gives us belief.
"We had spells where we struggled but we've managed to pull it out of the bag somehow."
Colback gave Sunderland an 18th-minute lead when he turned Marcos Alonso's near-post cross past goalkeeper Ben Foster.
And the Stadium of Light erupted with joy some 18 minutes later when Borini volleyed in his ninth goal of the season.
Aston Villa's Jordan Bowery (right) jumps for the ball with Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure during the English Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Wednesday. City won 40. Andrew Yates / AFP