MANCHESTER, UK: Manuel Pellegrini believes 75 points will be enough to win the Premier League after declaring that his Manchester City side is still firmly in the title race.
City ended a run of three straight league defeats by thrashing bottom club Aston Villa 4-0 at Eastlands on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
It took Pellegrini’s fourth placed team to 50 points with another 30 still to play for over their final 10 matches to be champions.
Leaders Leicester are 10 points clear of City, but Pellegrini feels his players have the experience to overhaul Leicester and title rivals Tottenham and Arsenal with a dramatic late surge to rival their Premier League triumph in 2014.
“All the teams will lose points between now and the end of the season. As you approach the end of the season, the pressure will increase,” Pellegrini said.
“We have more experience than the other teams, and that will be very important. We need to close that gap.
“We need to beat Norwich next Saturday, and then after that we need to win the next game.
“It is impossible to guess how many points we need to win this title but I am sure it will be around 75.”
Yaya Toure opened the scoring and Raheem Sterling completed the win, while in between, Sergio Aguero scored twice to take his total for the season to 21 in a City win that was convincing in the end, despite a frustrating and goalless first half.
Aguero has started 20 of City’s 28 Premier League matches this season, but has been absent with injuries at important stages, as have fellow key players such as Vincent Kompany and David Silva.
Doomed to relegation
“I always say it is a team game not an individual game, but of course there are players who are very important,” Pellegrini said.
“Sergio makes a difference. That’s why maybe three weeks ago, when we lost against Leicester and Tottenham, I said it was a credit to the squad to be fighting for the title with so many important players like Kompany, Silva and Kun injured.
“Of course, when you have your best players, it is better for the team. When you don’t have them, you need your squad. But if you ask me, I always want to play with Sergio the way he played today.”
Villa look doomed to relegation, sitting nine points adrift of a position of safety with nine games to play.
Manager Remi Garde has taken 12 points from 18 games since his appointment last November, and has been forced to deny claims of a dressing room split at the club.
He feels that his reputation as a manager, built in France at Lyon, remains strong, though and was pleased with the way his side kept City at 0-0 before they conceded two goals in the first five minutes of the second half.
“I am very confident in my management. I have no problem with that. I have problems but not with my own management,” he said.
“We were playing away to a team who can win the Champions League and we are bottom. To be too attacking would have been suicidal.
“Everybody was pleased with the way we played in the first 45 minutes. We wanted to play the same way and try to exploit one or two opportunities.
“The first goal was a big blow, and the second one straight after the first one was a big blow. The second half was very difficult.”