Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini hailed his side after the Citizens came out with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium.

Beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in the Champions League, City were looking eager to get all three points against Stoke City. Yaya Toure’s 70th-minute winner maintained City’s Premier League title push as the club kept pace with rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.

However, it is safe to say that City who are a free-scoring unit, were far from their best and were kept at bay by a tight Stoke defence. But it seems as though Pellegrini was content and relieved, if not very impressed by his side’s win. The Chilean spoke:

“The important thing was to add three points more to the table because we know all the matches from now until the end of the season will be very difficult with every team, and we hope we can continue winning,

Asked if the midweek game against Barcelona took a toll on the City player and was a reason why they were not at their best, Pellegrini added:

“Maybe it had some relation with one match, another one, but I also think it was down to Stoke.

“They defend very well with 10 players behind the ball, we didn’t find the space but we had the patience to try until the end.

“I think that is the way they must play here. For Stoke it is very important one point here, a draw, so I understand perfectly. But I think it was very important to keep our clean sheet and to concentrate on the counter-attack and set-pieces and also have patience to score.”

The win keeps City within three points of Chelsea and the Manchester club have the advantage of having a game in hand and the Chilean insisted that they would try to win every game

“We just depend on what we can do until the end of the season,

“We are three points from the top of the table but we have [played] one game less so it is important to always depend on what work you do.”

Asked about the sub-par performance by his forwards, especially Dzeko who missed an absolute sitter from two yards, Pellegrini defended him and said that any and all players have a bad day and such was the case for the Bosnian today:

“I think it is normal during the season for a striker to lose his scoring touch,”

“I trust in all of them and I am sure they will recover their normal performance.

“I think that every player can have a bad day, and Edin did today. Maybe he was nervous after he missed that chance but I trust in him. Alvaro Negredo is also recovering from an injury, so sometimes these things happen.”

Steven Jovetic could miss out after pulling up just 15 minutes after appearing as a substitute, but Aguero’s return to full return to training on Tuesday is a boost for the City boss who said:

“Stevan Jovetic felt his hamstring so we will see what the doctor says,

“We will see about Sergio Agüero. He will start working with the team on Tuesday. We will see during the team if he is fit to play in the Capital one Cup final”

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