Pellegrini confident of finishing job
Manchester City are within touching distance of reclaiming the Barclays Premier League trophy after an ultimately convincing 4-0 win over Aston Villa.
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Tension increasingly filled the air throughout a frustrating first hour at the Etihad Stadium but the atmosphere changed after Edin Dzeko finally broke the deadlock.
Dzeko followed up with his fifth crucial goal in three games before Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure put the crowd into celebratory mood with late strikes.
The result lifted City two points clear of Liverpool ahead of their final game against West Ham on Sunday, when a draw should secure a second title in three seasons.
Throughout the campaign manager Manuel Pellegrini, in keeping with his rivals, has refused to get carried away by title talk but even he knows the job is now almost done.
The Chilean said: "Now we can talk about the title because if we win the next game we are going to win the title.
"We could not do the same before this game because we had to beat Aston Villa.
"Of course I expect to win the title because now we are top of the table."
City's four goals took their tally of league strikes for the campaign to 100.
Pellegrini has faced criticism at times for sticking to his attacking principles when a cautious approach might have yielded better results, but he feels his methods have almost been vindicated.
He said: "I think it will be very important, not only (to win) the title but in the way we are going to win the title, if finally we win it.
"I think we have a style of play, I think we are an attractive team, I think we score many goals and we are always thinking to score more goals.
"In the way we play, I am very happy to win the title this way."
Villa, well organised with a five-man defence, did make life difficult but Pellegrini claimed he was not as concerned as the atmosphere suggested the fans were.
He said: "It was just a matter of time to score the first goal. It was the important personality and character of the team to continue playing the right way."
Villa manager Paul Lambert was pleased with the way his side approached the contest.
The Scot said: "Until the first goal I thought we were excellent, the gameplan was working great, trying to frustrate them and get them on the counter. I couldn't fault the lads."
It has been another difficult season for Villa, who almost got dragged into a late-season relegation battle once again.
Lambert is pleased to have engineered survival with a youthful squad but now wants the club to show greater ambition.
He said: "It is one of the greatest things I have done in my time.
"The main thing is to stay in this league and keep the heritage of this club as a top-flight team.
"But the football club needs investment. It smacks you right in the face.
"Any club that wins a European Cup and has a massive fanbase should never be in this position but it is."