Pellegrini: Man City are Chelsea's equals

Published April 24th, 2015 - 08:46 GMT

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is not surprised that his side are in a battle to hold on to a place in the Premier League top four, arguing that there are "five or six teams" in the division's elite.

With Chelsea on the verge of usurping their top-flight crown, City sit in fourth place after their challenge to retain the title fell away, now seven points clear of Liverpool having played one more game.

But Pellegrini does not expect things to get any easier any time soon for his side, telling reporters: "We have five or six teams with the same power and money. Every year it will be a fight to win the title."

Aston Villa are City's next opponents and Pellegrini confirmed that midfielder David Silva is fit for the match after avoiding a fractured cheekbone.

The Spaniard was taken off on a stretcher during Sunday's 2-0 win against West Ham after being caught in the face by an elbow from Cheikhou Kouyate but returned to training on Tuesday.

"David worked the whole week with no problems," the manager explained. "We have injuries to [Gael] Clichy, [Stevan] Jovetic and [Samir] Nasri but [James] Milner also worked without any problems."

Pellegrini has also been boosted by the return of Wilfried Bony following knee and ankle problems but there is no sign of captain Vincent Kompany recovering from a thigh injury in the near future.

Pellegrini added: "It's important to see how Vincent will improve in the next week. I think he'll be missing for at least two weeks more - I think, then, after two games, if he continues to work well, he can be fit.

"Nasri has a muscle injury from the last game. In the last minute, he started playing and he sustained a muscle injury. We hope it's a small problem."

The Chilean refuted suggestions that Villa's progression to the FA Cup final will have an impact on the game, saying: "I don't think that Aston Villa will not be concentrated. One thing is the final of the FA Cup, the other thing is battling against relegation. For this reason, it will be a very tough game.

"[I expect them to play] similar to the way they played against Liverpool. They are a team that tries to play as an offensive team. We are used to playing eight or nine players defending."

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