City not taking title for granted

  • Agencies, London
  • Updated: May 07, 2014 00:30 IST

Manuel Pellegrini has urged Manchester City to focus only on defeating Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, after Liverpool's draw with Crystal Palace — a game that Pellegrini says he did not watch — made the manager's side even firmer favourites for the title.

City trail Liverpool by a point but have a game more to play, with their season ending with West Ham United's visit on Sunday.

"I only know we have to win the game against Aston Villa – at the end of the week (Sunday) we'll see who has more points. We (will) prepare exactly the same as we have during the year," said the Chilean. "All the teams are under pressure but if we play at home as we did so far, I hope we can win the game."

Aguero ruled out
City will be without striker Sergio Aguero for the game against Aston Villa.

"Sergio Aguero couldn't recover 100 percent from his groin problem so he is not in this squad list," Pellegrini added.

Aguero, who will look to take a leading role in Argentina's World Cup campaign next month, has scored 17 goals in 22 league appearances this season, but has missed many games with calf and hamstring injuries.

Yaya Toure would be available, with Pellegrini saying his withdrawal against Everton with 25 minutes remaining was simply a precaution as the midfielder worked his way back to fitness after hurting a muscle last month.

City face sanctions
City are facing UEFA sanctions for breaching financial fair play rules which would see the club limited to a 21-man Champions League squad instead of the usual 25 players next season.

City, who are still strongly challenging the settlement offer, are also facing a fine in the region of £49 million over three years, and a cap imposed for next season to ensure there is no rise in this season's Champions League A squad wage bill.

The reduction in the size of the Champions League squad to 21 would potentially hit the club hardest, and City would also have to ensure that there are still eight locally-trained players in that A squad.

French sports daily L'Equipe reported on Tuesday that Paris Saint-Germain would also be fined and have their Champions League squad capped at 21 players instead of 25 next season under a proposed settlement. The club's wage bill would also be capped.

A similar settlement is believed to have been offered to City but the English club are disputing the terms. "PSG are close to agreement but it's fair to say that City are haggling a lot harder," the source said.

City have until the end of the week to reach an agreement with UEFA over the sanctions. Both the parties have refused to comment as of Tuesday.

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