Manchester City’s hopes of defending the title have all but completely vanished as they were defeated by Pardew’s Palace on Monday night.
The City team could feel unjustly defeated as Palace’s first goal was offside and the Manchester team was also denied a penalty later in the game. Scott Dann was denied by Joe Hart but Murray latched on to the loose ball and tapped it in to score his fifth goal in five games. The goal was offside but the assistant didn’t catch it and City were behind in the first half despite dominating the game completely. It only got worse for them after that as early on in the second half, Fernandinho brought down Murray on the edge of the box with a rash challenge, and Puncheon curled in a beautifully executed free-kick to beat Hart.
City tried hard to get back in the game and felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Fernandinho’s low shot bounced up onto Murray’s hand. The Brazilian was also denied by a goal-line clearance from James McArthur. Eventually, Yaya Toure pulled one back for the Manchester side to revive hopes, but with 12 minutes remaining, it was a goal that came too late to inspire a comeback.
The defeat has put Manchester City in the fourth place and it marked City’s third successive away league defeat. Pellegrini’s side are now nine points behind Chelsea and also below Arsenal and Manchester United. They play the Manchester derby on Sunday and going by the current run of form, it is easier to picture Manchester United winning the derby. City’s defeat has also revived Liverpool’s hopes of a top-4 finish as Brendan Rodgers’s side could find it easier to close the gap on out-of-form City than Arsenal or Manchester United.
Manuel Pellegrini was visibly upset by the referee’s performance in the game.
“It was a clear offside. Also it was a clear penalty,” said Pellegrini. “But with the way we played we must win this game.
“Its difficult to understand the result, we played a good game from the beginning to the end, we had a lot of chances to score.
“Although the second goal was a beautiful free-kick, it’s the only thing I remember near our box, so it’s difficult to understand but football happens like this.”
There are a lot of concerns over the Chilean being fired if he fails to at least compete for the title but the former Real Madrid manager insisted he was not worried.
“I’m not concerned about my job. That is one thing I am never concerned with.
“I never have fear about it, I do my work, I’m very happy. The team maybe have a difficult season but never worry about me.
“We are not thinking about Chelsea, or about the title. We are just trying to win our games.”
Pellegrini also refused to talk about the title and insisted his side was only focused on winning the remaining seven games.
He said, “We’re not talking about the title, we just want to win our games. It’s a blow – every time you drop points it’s a big blow. At the end of the season, every point that you lose is costly.
“The next seven games are very important. Normally the champions place is just one or two points (above the next team), so we must continue to win as many points as we can. There are 21 to play for.
“We are only thinking about what we can do and that is to try and win our games and at the end of the season we will see where we are in the table.”