Manuel Pellegrini tells Man City to refocus on Premier League
MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini has warned Manchester City that they cannot let their Champions League adventure affect their Premier League form.
City are four points clear of rivals Manchester United in fourth place ahead of Saturday's trip to Chelsea.
But they cannot afford any slip-ups at Stamford Bridge, with United likely to cut the gap to a single point against rock-bottom Aston Villa at Old Trafford earlier in the day.
Pellegrini said his side must forget about their forthcoming Champions League semifinal with Real Madrid and instead concentrate on the three Premier League games to be played ahead of the first leg on April 26.
He told a news conference: "Chelsea is an important game. We have three Premier League games before the Champions League, and it's a very important nine points with qualification for next season's Champions League in mind.
"The target is to try to add as many points as we can from now until the end of season, and we'll see where we finish. The first and second position doesn't depend completely on us, though."
Pellegrini is close to having a fully-fit squad, with Raheem Sterling and skipper Vincent Kompany returning to training.
Neither will be fit in time for the Chelsea game, although both have a chance of being available for Tuesday's match against Newcastle.
However, David Silva is set miss to the Chelsea trip with the niggling ankle injury that saw him miss City's last Premier League game, at home to West Bromwich Albion.
Pellegrini said: "For Chelsea, David Silva (ankle) is out, Raheem Sterling has started working but hopefully he'll be ready Tuesday, and Vincent Kompany should be ready for Tuesday -- all the other players are fit.
"I think Silva will manage the situation until end of season, but it's difficult for him to play two games in a row in quick succession. He has pain in his ankle."
Kevin De Bruyne is set to make his first return to Stamford Bridge since being sold to Wolfsburg by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho 15 months ago.
The Belgian midfielder has been in fine form since coming back from a 10-week injury layoff with knee ligament damage.
Pellegrini added: "He's very important for me -- if you have all your players 100 percent fit it's better.
"For different reasons we couldn't have that, so when Kevin returned he demonstrated how important he was. He's a young player, he keeps the ball well and he scores goals.
"I think we'll see him improving. Kevin is very professional, and he wants to reach the top with City."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.