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Published: 09:38 | 20/2/16

Pellegrini admits to 'difficult week'

Manuel Pellegrini says morale is low at Manchester City after "a difficult week" for the club.

City have dropped to fourth place in the Premier League table, six points behind leaders Leicester, following back-to-back home defeats to Leicester City and Tottenham, and the City manager admits his players did not expect to be so far off the pace in the title race with 12 matches to play.

“We didn’t expect to lose two home games against some of those teams who are challenging with us for the title. We’ve analysed things and why we didn’t play as well as we can," the Chilean said.

“But I hope that when we face Chelsea [in the FA Cup on Sunday] we’re going to correct the mistakes we’ve been making.

“We’ve worked hard this week to return to the team we have been at earlier stages of this season.”

Pellegrini is planning to rest skipper Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure for Sunday's trip to Stamford Bridge, with the Champions League trip to Ukraine to take on Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday very much on Pellegrini's mind.

Pellegrini will also be without the injured Bacary Sagna, Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas, Kevin De Bruyne, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Fabian Delph, so the City boss will blood some of his Academy players from the bench against Guus Hiddink's side.

"It's a big problem," said Pellegrini. "Maybe it's not so big if we could play on the Saturday, but because we play on Sunday it's a major problem.

"We have only 13 senior players ­available and must play in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"So we will see what the best team is we can play. If we want to protect the English teams in the Champions League, something has to change.

"The priority is always the next game, but this time we're going to have to make an exception because of the games and the amount of players we have available."

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