City boss blames lack of focus for 2-1 home defeat
MANUEL Pellegrini took no pleasure in being proved correct but Manchester City's surprise 2-1 home loss to West Ham on Saturday illustrated his belief that the Premier League title race is far from over.
The league leaders saw their 11-match winning streak brought to an end, thanks to first half goals from Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho for a West Ham side who have won all three of their away games this season - at Arsenal, Liverpool and now City.
The day started with City having the potential to move 14 points clear of defending champions Chelsea had results gone their way.
Instead, Slaven Bilic's West Ham moved to within three points of City, despite Kevin De Bruyne's goal late in the first half.
"We never believed, because we won five games, we were champions of the Premier League," said Pellegrini. "We have to play 32 games more, 96 more points, so nobody can believe that."
City were without injured captain and defender Vincent Kompany as well as influential forward David Silva, who picked up a calf injury during the warm-up.
Pellegrini refused to use their absences as an excuse and, instead, criticised his team's collective lack of concentration for defensive mistakes.
"We have lost two games where we haven't played with the concentration and intensity we need in defending. So we conceded twice against Juventus (in the Champions League), they had two shots and we conceded two goals. And today, exactly the same," he said.
"There was one shot from the edge of the box, one corner. That was the whole offensive volume of West Ham during the whole game. So we must be concentrating more because two balls decided the result."
Bilic was clearly delighted by yet another victory, although he jokingly bristled at suggestions that such success was now so common place that it did not represent a surprise.
"It is a surprise," he insisted. "This game was different to the games at Emirates and Anfield because, with the greatest respect to Arsenal and Liverpool, this team is the best in the league.
"We knew we had to score to get something from the game and we did it. We didn't nick it."