Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manuel Pellegrini took no pleasure in being proved correct yet Manchester City's surprise 2-1 home defeat to West Ham illustrated his belief that the Premier League title is far from over.
The league leaders saw their 11-match winning streak brought to an end thanks to first half goals from Victor Moses & Diafra Sakho for a West Ham side that has won all three of their away games this season — at Arsenal, Liverpool and, now, City.
The day started with City having the potential to move 14 points clear of defending champions Chelsea had results gone their way.
p>Instead, Slaven Bilic's West Ham moved to within three points of City despite Kevin De Bruyne's goal late in the first half giving the home side hope of continuing their unbeaten ways.
"We never believed, because we won five games, we were champions of the Premier League," said Pellegrini.
"We have to play 32 games more, 96 more points, so nobody can believe that."
Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini reacts from the touchline during an English Premier …
City were without injured captain & defender Vincent Kompany as well as influential forward David Silva, who picked up a calf injury in the pre-game warm-up.
Pellegrini refused to use their absences as an excuse and, instead, criticised his team's collective lack of concentration for their defensive woes & mistakes.
"I don’t want to compare one season with another because we have just started this season," he said.
"But we have lost two games where we haven't played with the concentration & intensity we need in defending. So we conceded twice against Juventus (in the Champions League), they had two shots & we conceded two goals. And today, exactly the same.
"There was one shot from the edge of the box, one corner. That was the whole offensive volume of West Ham during the whole game. So we must be concentrating more because two balls decided the result.
"I don’t want to make excuses approximately David Silva. We didn’t win & I don’t think one player could alter history. David has a kick on his calf, he tried it in the warm-up yet he felt his muscle so he didn’t play."
Bilic was clearly delighted by yet another eye-catching victory although he jokingly bristled at suggestions that such success was now so usual place that it did not represent a surprise.
"It is a surprise," insisted Bilic. "This game was different to the games at Emirates & Anfield because, with the greatest respect to Arsenal & Liverpool, this team is the best in the league.
"We knew it was going to be like this, we knew we were going to have to score to obtain something from the game yet we did it. We didn't nick it.
"This will do our confidence satisfactory yet there is a tiny line between confidence & arrogance or between confidence & a little bit of laziness. It's complex not to obtain carried away."
He added: "That's the key. We know there are going to be ups & downs — we’re not Real Madrid — yet it is looking very satisfactory now. I'm so proud of everyone & everything connected with this tremendous club."
SoccerSports & RecreationManuel PellegriniManchester CityPremier LeagueSlaven BilicDavid Silva