Mar 14, 2016

    City to switch focus to Euro game


    MANUEL Pellegrini urged his Manchester City players to refocus on the Champions League following their disappointing 0-0 draw against Premier League strugglers Norwich City at Carrow Road.

    Pellegrini's men were frustrated by a resolute Norwich side battling to retain their top-flight status and were left nine points adrift of leaders Leicester City, who host Rafael Benitez's Newcastle United tonight.

    Pellegrini refused to rule his side out of the title race but said that tomorrow night's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Dynamo Kiev at the Etihad Stadium, in which City lead 3-1, is now the immediate priority.

    "Every time you drop points in the Premier League, it becomes more difficult," the Chilean said after Saturday's encounter.

    "But it will not change my mind. We think we can do it but the most important thing now is to focus on the Champions League game that we play on Tuesday night to try and qualify for the next stage."

    A concern for City has been the recent form of Spanish playmaker David Silva.

    Against Norwich, only Sergio Aguero posed a genuine goal threat, with Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas and Silva all unable to make significant attacking contributions.

    Silva, 30, has been a creative force for City in the last few seasons but has rarely met his own exacting standards in the current campaign.

    "He is playing with some problem in his ankle but not a problem that does not allow him to play," Pellegrini said.

    "We are always talking with David and the doctor.

    "He wants to play.

    "I don't think it is just the problem of David that we don't create the space today."

    Norwich manager Alex Neil was pleased with the point but admits that he still has a huge fight on his hands to avoid the drop.

    They remain in the relegation zone with eight games remaining but trail fourth-bottom Sunderland on goal difference alone, albeit having played a game more.

    Relegation rivals Newcastle visit Leicester tonight but Neil does not believe that the arrival of Benitez at St James' Park will have an impact on Norwich's fate.

    "It does not make any difference," Neil said. "Newcastle are still to come here and Rafa Benitez isn't going to win the game for them."