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Manuel Pellegrini warns Manchester City players ahead of Crystal Palace

MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini has told his players to forget about beating Crystal Palace twice already this season ahead of their clash at the Etihad on Saturday.

Kelechi Iheanacho's injury-time strike snatched a dramatic 1-0 win at Selhurst Park in September and City thrashed the Eagles 5-1 in the Capital One Cup fourth round at the Etihad six weeks later.

But Palace have been one of the surprise packages of the season and sit just five points off the Champions League places despite winning only one of their last five fixtures.

"[It will have no impact] because I think that every game is different," Pellegrini said. "We played a very difficult game against Crystal Palace in London, we beat them in the last minute with the goal of Kelechi.

"We were in a very good moment at the beginning of the season, they were also in a good moment, scoring a lot of goals, so it was a very close game.

"Maybe here in the cup it was more easy but we don't expect that we are going to have an easy game, I think that we are going to play against a tough team with very good players."

Iheanacho also scored in the Capital One Cup victory and Pellegrini praised the striker's ability to make an impact when he has been given the opportunity.

The 19-year-old was unavailable last season after a frustrating wait for a work permit but he has made his mark in this campaign scoring five goals. And Pellegrini believes the Nigerian could have a big future at the club.

"I always say the same about young players; if they are working every day and they play some games, when they have the option to play some games they must take the chance and every time Kelechi has played he has played very well," he added.

"In the moment that we talk to the FA last season to have his work permit it [was] because I especially think that he will be a very important player."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

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