Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini expressed his joy after his side demolished Crystal Palace at home despite the absence of a striker in the starting XI.

The holders probed Palace’s strong defence for 49 minutes before finding the back of the net thanks to David Silva’s deflected goal. After that, there was no looking back as City gained in confidence and began playing some good football which led to two more goals. The game was reminiscent of their performance against AS Roma a few weeks back when they were up against the wall but managed to win the game at  Stadio Olimpico.

Pellegrini lauded his side for showing the patience in front of goal that finally paid dividends, “I was always confident because we played very well in the first half. We had the patience to try and create the space and we didn’t allow them to have counter attacks.

“If we could continue creating the space that we did in the first half I was sure we would score. In the end we scored three goals against a difficult team that defended very well.”

With injuries to their strikers, City needed players from midfield who could deliver. When asked if his frontmen would appear in the coming games, the Chilean’s response was negative, “I don’t they will be fit for Boxing Day. We will see how Stevan Jovetic improves from now until Friday.”

He went on to add that the side are more than capable of playing and winning despite the absence of key players “This team always needs Sergio Aguero to play because he is a very important player, but this team isn’t just about him and Silva is exactly the same.

“They are top players that make a difference, but if for any reason they cannot play we have a team that works a lot and knows how to do it.

“We were without Aguero, Dzeko and Kompany but the other players have their moments and have an important answer in the way David had today.”

In the absence of strikers, James Milner was asked to play as a false nine in the team. The England international put in another tireless performance and picked up an assist. His manager had some kind words after an impressive display, “Milner gave a very good performance. He is a player that works very hard and creates a lot of movement and space for the rest of his teammates. We have been preparing for this match all week and we planned all this movement and all the freedom for Milner to create the space for other teammates.”

Title race is still wide open

Manchester City are now level on points with Chelsea although the Londoners still have a game in hand which they play on Monday. When asked about his side’s title rivals, Pellegrini replied, “I don’t think about Chelsea. The only important thing for our team was to win three more points and continuing playing in the way we are doing so far and believing every day that we can be involved in the fight for the title.

“December is a key month, not the month that you win the title but you play so many games that if you want to be involved in the fight for the title you must be as near as you can to the head of the table.

“We are in a good moment and no one believed a few months ago that we could continue in the Champions League and be able to fight for the title but we always trusted in what we do.

“I am so happy that once again this squad demonstrated why we won the title last year,” he added.

Manchester City will next take on West Brom on Friday at the Hawthorns.