Manuel Pellegrini admits Manchester City “can now win” the Premier League title, after watching his side surge two points clear of Liverpool at the top of the league standings with a 4-0 bashing of Aston Villa in their remaining outstanding fixture.
A win against West Ham on Sunday will guarantee City their second league title in three years, while a point is almost certainly going to be enough- having scored more goals than Liverpool.
“Of course I expect to win the title now because we are top of the table. Winning the next game means we can win the title,” the Chillean boss, who watched on calm and well composed from the Etihad Stadium dugout on Wednesday night said.
Paul Lambert’s men looked like almost causing a late twist to the title run-in with the game deadlocked at the interval.
City, confidently pressing forward down the right, looked lethal on the attack, with Aleksandar Kolarov whipping in low, superb deliveries from the left and Pablo Zabaleta creating chances from right-back.
Vila sat deep with almost all eleven men behind the ball. Any possibility of letting the league crown slip off in another bizarre manner was just as inconceivable a thought for the hosts; Pellegrini’s men never panicked but remained patient.
“The team was not only very patient, we played very well. We pressed well, had possession of the ball. We tried to move the ball as fast as we can and created two or three chances,” he added.
“I was absolutely sure if we continued to play the same way we would find the space to score a goal.
“Now we can talk about the title. We must win the last game against West Ham.
Bosnia and Herzegovina striker Edin Dzeko sent the home crowd into wild celebration four minutes after the hour mark, slotting home the opener from six yards following a neat pass from Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta.
Dzeko doubled City’s lead 8 minutes later, neatly tucking home Samir Nasri’s rebounded effort, also from close range.
Stevan Jovetic added City’s third from a Yaya Toure assist on 89 minutes, before the Ivory Coast playmaker hammered home his side’s 100th league goal of the season and his 20th goal of the season.
Pellegrini, nicknamed the ‘Engineer’ says he is delighted with the manner with which City have ousted their rivals in the battle to finish top of the league, having being at the summit for just 11 days this season, 117 fewer than fourth-placed Arsenal.
Pellegrini said: “It’s been a strange season because we were never at the top of the table, everybody was talking about us being the favourites but we were nine points behind Liverpool and eight behind Chelsea – we had three games in hand but we had to win all of those games.
“The way we play, I am very happy to win the title that way. There are different ways to win the title, I choose this one – this one is attractive football and our fans enjoy the season. You can win titles in another way but for me the aesthetic part of the game is very important.”