No excuses for Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini will not allow his injury-ravaged Manchester City side to let up as they chase down Chelsea at the Premier League summit.

Champions City enter the hectic festive period with no fit strikers – a dilemma that led Pellegrini to use midfielder James Milner as an auxiliary forward against Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Captain Vincent Kompany is also struggling with a hamstring injury, to further limit the Chilean's options.

However, Stevan Jovetic is set to return to action after Boxing Day's trip to West Brom, while Kompany will also come into contention closer to New Year's Day.

Having seen his makeshift forward line prove too much for Palace in a 3-0 win, the former Villarreal boss has called for more of the same at The Hawthorns, with City just three points behind a Chelsea side who face tricky trips to Southampton and Tottenham in quick succession.

"At the moment we are playing at a high level," Pellegrini said. 

"We need to do this regardless of whether players are injured or not.

"We are not thinking about Chelsea. We have our own pressure to win. As I've said before, you never win the title in December."

With Jovetic and Kompany in with a chance to feature against Burnley at the weekend, Pellegrini expects to have Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero available in late January.