Football

Pressure still on us: Pellegrini

PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

They say it is harder to retain a trophy than win it for the first time.Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini certainly believes so. The City boss says nothing has changed as far as pressure goes, even after he guided the club to title glory last season.

Pellegrini lifted the English Premier League trophy at the first time of asking last season as City dramatically overhauled Liverpool to prevail by two points.

But the Chilean still feels bound by expectation and is predicting another red-hot race for top-flight glory.

Speaking ahead of City's International Champions Cup clash with Liverpool this morning (Singapore time), he said: "I don't think we have the pressure off.

"All the other teams are bringing in important players and we'll have another very tough season. The pressure will continue for all the big teams.

"During the year, not only Liverpool will be our rivals - also Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham. There are a lot of very strong teams who can win the Premier League."

COMMITTED TOURE

The Citizens received a huge boost when Yaya Toure reaffirmed his commitment to City and said that he wants to stay at the club for "as long as possible".

The Ivory Coast international has been persistently linked with a move away from Eastlands this summer after his agent Dimitry Seluk suggested that the 31-year-old felt he had been treated disrespectfully by the club.

Toure then suffered the heartache of losing his younger brother Ibrahim to cancer, while his country's World Cup campaign floundered, but the former Barcelona midfielder now feels composed and ready to focus on City again.

"It was not a case of leaving the club. It was difficult because my situation was quite difficult," he told the club's official website.

"For me, I always have been quiet and my decision, if you want to say it like that, is that I will stay at City for as long as possible."

Given he was the lynchpin in City's title winning midfield last year, that will be music to the ears of their fans who are hoping they can do it all again and also push on in Europe.

Toure, who signed a new four-year deal last season, is also targeting more trophies and wants to see reinforcements arrive in the next few weeks to make it easier to fight on multiple fronts.

"I hope a couple of players sign because we need to try to build a massive club if we want to be the best and win every trophy possible," he added.

"We are looking for the Champions League - that is an important title this year and the Premier League is going to be a battle as well between Chelsea, United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool too.

"I think it's going to be very open. We know we are the team to beat, but we have the confidence and we have fantastic players coming and I hope this year's going to be the same." - PA Sport.