The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 8 , 2014
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Man City not taking Hammers lightly

London: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has said that he is expecting his under-fire West Ham United counterpart Sam Allardyce to bounce back from his weekend FA Cup humiliation when the two sides meet in the League Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

A weakened West Ham side were thrashed 0-5 by Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday, increasing the pressure on Allardyce.

West Ham are 19th in the Premier League having not won in the league since November but Pellegrini is reading little into that form ahead of their midweek meeting.

Allardyce’s side are at the Etihad Stadium for the first leg of their League Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Pellegrini said: “They had an awful result but I don't think they played with their best XI. They played with young players. I am absolutely sure tomorrow will be a very different game to what they played on Sunday. I think that in this job as a manager — in any club, in every part of the world — you are always under a lot of pressure.

“When the results are not the results the club wants, maybe sometimes it can be more nervous, but I think he is doing very good work in West Ham so I don’t think he will have any problems.”

Nevertheless, City, with their formidable home record, will be expected to win comfortably and take a big stride towards a place in the final.

That would put City, and Pellegrini, in clear sight of a first trophy since he took over.

With City also in contention in the Premier League and still in the Champions League and FA Cup the season has much potential, but Pellegrini is not looking too far ahead.

He said: “We are not thinking about the four trophies. We are just thinking about winning the next game we have to play. Tomorrow is one of the two games of the semi-final of League Cup, it is very important and we play here at home. We are going to have to have a very good performance to try to win against West Ham.

“After West Ham, we will think only about Newcastle. We are not thinking about the trophies, only the present.”

After some rampant displays at home in recent months — notably scoring seven against Tottenham and six against Arsenal — Pellegrini knows how important another strong display could be.

He said: “It is very important to play the first leg here at home. Tomorrow we will try to win and if we can score more than one goal at home it will be very important also for the second leg.”

Pellegrini is planning to make changes following the 1-1 draw at Blackburn in the FA Cup third round last weekend but was not specific at his pre-match press conference.

He did confirm that winger Jesus Navas would not be risked due to a minor knee issue and that Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic and Jack Rodwell remain sidelined. Defender Dedryck Boyata is suspended after his sending off at Ewood Park.