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Departing Pellegrini not feeling Champions League pressure

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says his impending exit does not add any pressure to his final Champions League campaign with the club this term.

Pellegrini’s side take on Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Ukraine on Wednesday, seeking to make the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time.

Pep Guardiola is to take over at the Etihad Stadium next term, with Pellegrini’s hopes of landing a trophy before leaving resting with the League Cup, Champions League and the Premier League.

Regardless, the Chilean is not feeling any extra pressure ahead of his departure.

“I think the main problem is to try and play well, we are not thinking about the future,” explained the City boss, who could welcome back Eliaquim Mangala from injury this week.

“It’s really not a problem. All the players and the staff are just thinking about this season. We have important challenges and the best way is to be focused in every game.

“We have the Champions League tomorrow, then Wembley on Sunday, and then on Wednesday we are back in the Premier League.

“It’s very easy because we are focused on achieving our goals this season.”

Having had a number of injuries to contend with, City opted to name a much-changed side for their FA Cup defeat at Chelsea on Sunday ahead of their midweek European return and Sunday’s League Cup final against Liverpool.

With City six points off the pace in the Premier League, Pellegrini dismissed the idea that their FA Cup exit ups the ante in other competitions.

“We have a similar squad to the one we played in the last Premier League game. The only player that has recovered is Mangala,” he added.

“I don’t think one game is linked to another. We had to make a difficult decision against Chelsea but it was the only choice we could make in this moment. We had just 13 players, so it was our intention to continue in all competitions and we couldn’t do that.

“We are looking to improve and we want to get past the round of 16. We finished top of the group and we want to try to continue, knowing that we have difficult game tomorrow.”

Tue 23 Feb, 2016
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