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Manuel Pellegrini: This is not the game to decide the title


Manager Manuel Pellegrini says the match at Stamford Bridge on Saturday between Chelsea and Manchester City will not decide the title.

The Blues opened a five-point gap at the top of the Premier League table after Arsenal's impressive win at the City of Manchester Stadium last week but the 61-year-old believes that an eight-point deficit would not kill his side's title hopes.

"I think it's a very important game, but not the game to decide the title because after that we have 45 points more," Pellegrini said.

"If you remember this group won the title after being eight points behind Manchester United. In football you never know but it's an important game to close that gap as soon as we can."

The Citizens will again be without midfielder Yaya Toure but the Chilean says his squad is strong enough to take all three points without the 31-year-old in the line-up.

"It is up to other players to demonstrate what they can do," he added.

"Yaya is a very important player for us but it would have been difficult for him to return from the African Cup of Nations after just two days had Ivory Coast been eliminated.

"We played without Yaya in Rome and qualified and we also beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League without him.

"So he is a very important player. The same can be said of Diego Costa but I don't think either team depends on just those players.

"Costa is a great player. A very important player. He has his character and I hope this punishment will be a good thing for him for the future."

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Manuel Pellegrini, Yaya Toure