Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned Arsenal that the Premier League title is a long way from being won.
City, who are third in the table but just three points behind leaders Arsenal, host Everton on Wednesday in what could prove a pivotal night in the title race. Arsenal face a difficult trip to Liverpool while second-placed Leicester travel to fourth-placed Tottenham.
Pellegrini recognises the importance of the fixture as he looks to manoeuvre his side into pole position but has reminded Arsenal that the title is often won and lost in the last month of the season.
He said: “It’s important to try to reduce the gap as soon as we can with the two leaders, but we are not going to win the title in January. I think it’s important to be solid and a consistent team from now until the end of the season.
“(There are) so many examples of teams that had the title in their hands in April, (but) they lose important points and after that they don’t win the title. So it’s important first to reduce the points that we are behind them and after that try to continue in all the competitions and try to be a solid and consistent team.”
Vincent Kompany is undergoing thorough analysis as City try to get to the bottom of his recurring calf problems and is likely to be out at least another month yet.
“I don’t think that he will be ready before a month,” Pellegrini said.
City have only conceded once in the Premier League while Kompany has been on the field this season. However, they have kept only one clean sheet in the 11 games he has missed.
David Silva acknowledges other players need to step up in the captain’s absence.
The Spaniard, who turned 30 last week, said: “Vinny is a key player for us and our captain. With or without him in the side we have to work hard to concede less, but it’s not just the defence that defends, it’s the whole team.
“It’s the same when we’re attacking – you need to have everyone helping out going forwards. So it’s down to us all to perform our defensive duties and it’s something we’ll be trying to do to help the cause.
“Any team will miss their captain when they’re out and we’re no exception, but when you look all over the field there are lots of figures willing to step up to the plate when needed.
“We need to get a balance between conceding less but without lowering the total amount of goals we score or chances we create.”
Silva, meanwhile, reiterated that consistency until the very end of the season will be needed for the title winner.
Silva said: “It’s been a very exciting season and, above all, it’s very tight at the top. It’s going to be a close-run thing right through until the end of the season.
“Each game is tough, it always is, but somehow this year it’s even tougher and especially away from home. Every team is finding tough encounters on the road and I think you can lose at any moment when you least expect it. It’s about being competitive until the end of the season and being in the fight until the end.”