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 Posted by PA Sport
Aug 9, 2014

Manuel Pellegrini not setting targets

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno contends that Arsenal should be taking this game seriously, but Steve Nicol disagrees.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists the club's stated target of winning five trophies in five years is "not important" to him.

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City chief executive Ferran Soriano underlined the ambition in May 2013, when he said about the next five seasons: "On average, I want one trophy or title a year. That is the Champions League, the Premier League or the FA Cup."

Pellegrini was announced as successor to the sacked Roberto Mancini shortly after, and in the campaign that followed City won the Premier League title and the Capital One Cup.

The Chilean has made progress in terms of working towards Soriano's goal, but when asked ahead of Sunday's Community Shield clash with Arsenal about the comments, he told a news conference: "I don't have a target to win five titles. Every time I play a competition, I want to win it. But that thing that we have to win five titles in five years -- for me it is not important.''

Pellegrini was keen to emphasise the point that his side will be doing their utmost to claim silverware at every opportunity.

Asked about his priorities for the season, the City boss said: "For this year, our target is exactly the same as last year.

"We will play in the four competitions we must play in and we will try to continue in all competitions as far as we can -- exactly the same as last year. We continue trying to win the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and the Champions League, and we will see during the season what we can do."

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As we count down to kickoff on Aug. 16, ESPN FC previews all 20 teams in this season's competition. Can Burnley, QPR and Leicester stay up? Will the new signings of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Adam Lallana help usurp Man City's crown? Will Manchester United get back on track under Louis van Gaal?

City have so far made five new signings this summer in goalkeeper Willy Caballero, defender Bacary Sagna and midfielders Fernando, Bruno Zuculini -- a deal completed late on Friday -- and Frank Lampard, who has joined from the club's American sister outfit, New York City FC, on loan until January after leaving Chelsea.

Pellegrini feels he has a stronger squad than last season, but is not going to make any predictions about how they will do this season.

Asked if the group he has are capable of winning the Champions League, he said: "I don't know. It is impossible for me to know the future. The only target of our squad is the same as last year -- to try to win the four competitions that we are going to play."

Of the new recruits, only Caballero, Fernando and Zuculini may feature in Sunday's match at Wembley, with City set to have eight players missing.

Lampard is deemed not ready to be involved yet and the same applies to Sagna, along with Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Fernandinho and captain Vincent Kompany -- a sextet who were involved in the knockout stages of the World Cup. Alvaro Negredo is the other man to miss out due to a foot injury.

Meanwhile, Arsenal's trio of World Cup winners -- Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski -- are also unavailable having been given extra rest after their triumph in Brazil.

While acknowledging there will be a considerable number of high-profile absentees, Pellegrini is adamant the contest will be more than just a glorified friendly.

"Of course it is not a friendly match," he said. "It is an important game against an important team in Arsenal.

"Maybe both teams do not arrive in our best moment because both have a lot of players who are just getting back after the World Cup. But I think it will be a very good game, it is important for both teams to try to win it, and we will try to do that."

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