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May 10, 2014

Pellegrini looking for big Man City finish

Shaka Hislop and Taylor Twellman discuss the possibility of West Ham spoiling Man City's title hopes this weekend.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has urged his side to carry on where they left off in midweek and finish their Premier League title charge in emphatic style.

Manuel Pellegrini congratulates Edin Dzeko
Edin Dzeko has proved influential for Manuel Pellegrini as Man City close in on the title.

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• Curtis: Final day drama awaits

City scored four times in the final 26 minutes against Aston Villa on Wednesday to secure a 4-0 victory and put themselves within touching distance of a second English crown in three seasons.

Pellegrini's men, with a two-point advantage over Liverpool and much superior goal difference, effectively now need just a point from their final game at home to West Ham on Sunday to finish the job.

But the Chilean coach has no intention of settling for a draw and intends to play with the same attacking verve that has served his side so well this season.

City beat West Ham 6-0 on the London side's last visit to the Etihad Stadium, in the Capital One Cup in January, and Pellegrini would welcome a repeat display.

"We beat them here in the Capital One Cup, it was a very good game and I hope we can repeat it tomorrow, but the best way to do it is to play in the same way," Pellegrini said.

"We did it especially against Aston Villa. I think that was one of the best games we played the whole year.''

City's emphatic win over Villa took their tally of league goals for the campaign to 100, and Sergio Aguero -- who has scored 17 of those goals, and is the club's top scorer overall with 28 -- has been declared fit after missing the midweek game with a groin injury.

The Argentina international knows all about last-day heroics having scored the late winner against QPR when City snatched the title from Manchester United in dramatic fashion in 2012.

Yet if he is not deemed ready to start, City certainly have another in-form striker to turn to who can keep the goals flowing in Edin Dzeko.

The World Cup-bound Bosnia forward, inconsistent throughout his three years at City, has delivered in recent weeks in Aguero's absence and Alvaro Negredo's loss of form.

In City's crucial last three games, when they have seized control of the title race from Liverpool, Dzeko has scored five -- doubles against Villa and Everton, and another at Crystal Palace -- and now has 26 for the season overall.

"I think it was very important at the beginning of the season to have a good squad -- more than a team -- a squad," he continued.

"At this moment Edin is in a very high level of performance, he is doing very well. In other moments it was Alvaro Negredo or Kun Aguero, so I think all the players are involved.''

Another player earning plenty of praise lately is midfield driving force Yaya Toure, who is City's top league goalscorer with 20.

Toure's goal against Villa, when he charged from his own half to finish clinically in the 90th minute, was merely the latest illustration of his powerful impact throughout the campaign.

"I am not surprised because Yaya is a top player," Pellegrini said. "Before I came here he was very important in this team.

"He is now in his best moment with more experience, but still young with a lot of quality. Maybe did not expect so many goals but I think Yaya has the quality and power to do it.''

Yet for all the plaudits, the medals are not quite ready to be handed out yet. City must still get a result against the Hammers knowing that Liverpool, simultaneously hosting Newcastle, could still pounce on any slip-up.

After the final-day experience of 2012, when they appeared to lose the title only to grab it back at the last moment, City know well how fortunes can fluctuate.

And Pellegrini added: "The experience of that for the players is always very important, but it is a different moment, in a different year, with a different manager and a different squad.

"Always, the best way to work for this game is to try to repeat what we did all year.''

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