Following his side’s hard fought 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted he was concerned with the display the Sky Blues put on.
Pellegrini said his players were tired after playing on Boxing Day in a 2-1 win over title contenders Liverpool, and it showed in a poor display against Palace.
“Yes, of course I was very concerned,” said Pellegrini.
“Before the match I said when we finished against Liverpool, 48 hours it is impossible to recover for players.
“We didn't have our team fresh and it is very difficult when just one team want to play and the other just wants to defend so that was the game we saw today. That is not what we are used to do at the Etihad.
“We also had a lot of chances to score but I repeat it is very difficult to attack when the other team is with ten players in their own box. Maybe on some counter attacks and corners they had chances.”
Nonetheless, the win took City to the top of the table for at least 24 hours, but Pellegrini is under no disillusion as to the task ahead of his men if they are to claim the English Premier League title.
The City manager knows there are six or seven title contenders and the second half of the season will be a tough one.
“I repeat, there are six or seven teams that will continue fighting for the title to the end,” added Pellegrini.
“Of the last eight games we have won seven and drawn one and recovered the distance Arsenal had on our team, but we continue next Wednesday [at Swansea] and the second half of the season will be very difficult for all of us.”