Pellegrini: We’re in a five-team fight for top four

Date published: Saturday 9th April 2016 9:04

Manuel Pellegrini: Says four or five teams are fighting for top four

Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City remain in a fight with “four or five” other teams to make the top four in the Premier League.

Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri scored against West Brom on Saturday as City came from behind to secure a 2-1 win which moved them four points ahead of Manchester United, who visit Tottenham on Sunday, in the race for the fourth Champions League spot.

“It was a very important win,” Pellegrini told BBC Sport. “You cannot lose these three points at home if you want to fight to be in the Champions League next year.

“Now we have a championship with four or five teams to try and play in the Champions League.

“When you have players like Kevin de Bruyne and Yaya Toure and they play with Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero, the way the team played changed immediately. I’m very happy with Samir Nasri.”

Nasri only returned to action as a substitute at Bournemouth last week after undergoing surgery for a serious thigh muscle problem last October.

Such was the severity of the injury that the 28-year-old was not registered for the Champions League in the second half of the season as Kelechi Iheanacho was preferred.

But after returning to form and fitness quicker than expected, Nasri now cannot be called upon for the second leg of City’s quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Pellegrini said: “We expected he was going to come back in the middle of April, the doctor said, but we needed to play in the Champions League in February.

“We had just Kun (Sergio Aguero) as a striker as (Wilfried) Bony was injured, so it was important to include Kelechi.

“But, (besides that) I do not think he is able to play (again) in another three days. He has had a long injury.”

Nasri was not concerning himself with that issue and was just pleased to have made such an important contribution on his return to the team.

City’s victory secured an important three points as they look to hold off the challenge of Manchester United and retain their grip on fourth place.

Nasri told Sky Sports: “I cannot explain how happy I am. It’s been more than five and a half months I’ve been out and I played my first 90 minutes.

“I was a bit dead at the end but when you’ve been out for so long, you come back very hungry because you want to prove to everyone that you have the quality to play in this squad, especially with all the new players we have.”

Pellegrini was also impressed by Nasri’s performance.

He said: “I’m very happy for him. He was very unlucky to have that kind of injury. I was very impressed he played the 90 minutes and he was a very important player.”

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