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May 3, 2014

Pellegrini: Title race not over

ESPN FC's Des Curran and Craig Burley discuss Pellegrini's side getting three points in Goodison Park and Burley weighs in on City's title chances.

Manuel Pellegrini warned Manchester City the Premier League is not finished yet after they moved to the summit with victory over Everton.

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his team's first goal
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his team's first goal

A thrilling match finished 3-2 in City's favour, taking them ahead of Liverpool on goal difference ahead of the Reds' clash with Crystal Palace on Monday. Third-placed Chelsea, two points behind, play Norwich on Sunday and will also have the chance to move ahead.

Both teams will have played a game more than City but Pellegrini told Sky Sports 1: "The worst thing we must do is think that today we finished the Premier League.

"We have to play teams (Aston Villa and West Ham) who are not fighting for anything, they can play without pressure. We must try to win our last two games at home, then we will see what happens.''

Sergio Aguero's goal and two from Edin Dzeko settled the game at Goodison, with Everton having opened the scoring through Ross Barkley and later pulling one back through Romelu Lukaku.

Pellegrini said: "We won and at this moment the most important thing is to win. Today the pressure was maybe too high to play our best football. We played well until 3-2, maybe at that moment the team was a bit nervous.

"We started one goal down and we played good football to recover from that goal. We managed the game, we scored three and had chances.''

Pellegrini added: "This is a difficult place to come, especially when you concede a goal at the start, and we did well to come back. It was all about the concentration and character of the team today.''

City's move to the top may lessen the chance of a fairytale finish for Liverpool, who are still hoping to end their title drought stretching back to 1990 in a year which has the added symbolism of being the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Pellegrini was asked whether he had any feelings about not being the most popular champions should they lift the trophy in the coming week.

"I don't know who will be the most popular champions because I am not talking about the title,'' he added. "When we finish the season we can analyse all those things.

"After we lost against Liverpool [last month] I said the Premier League was not over and we must continue playing and we tried to do our best -- that is why it is so important to try to win the next game.''

Aguero left the field with an injury but Pellegrini would not be drawn on the severity of the problem, saying simply: "We'll see tomorrow.''

Captain Vincent Kompany also urged caution ahead of the finale to the season.

"Ultimately it's two games at home but it doesn't mean anything,'' he said. "You saw the Sunderland game and how tough it was. Hopefully we'll just play like we can, we have a strong home record and we have goals from everywhere on the pitch.''

Everton manager Roberto Martinez felt Aguero's decision to try and stay on before eventually being forced off injured was a significant part in the game.

Although he believed Joe Hart's world-class save from Steven Naismith with the score at 2-1 was the pivotal moment as City soon went down the other end and added a third.

"There is a moment when Sergio is coming to the side and is trying to come off as he was feeling an injury and the next action he gets into a good position and leads to a goal,'' said the Spaniard, whose side's Champions League hopes were ended by the defeat.

"We were in total control and for us it was disappointing to concede that goal out of a bit of confusion with a player who needs to come off.

"The first chance of the second half Joe Hart made the save of the season. They went to the other end and we conceded a goal in a very important moment -- I thought that was the turning point.''

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