Pellegrini: This is where we want to be

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his side can challenge for four trophies this season after moving top of the English Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Edin Dzeko struck in the second half of a nervy encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as City maintained their 100 per cent home record after finally breaking down a resolute and enterprising Palace side.

With City also still in contention in the UEFA Champions League, the League Cup and the FA Cup, Pellegrini says that they are exactly where he had hoped they would be at the turn of the year.

"We know we are in the position we wanted to be at the beginning of the first half (of the season)," he said. We are playing in all competitions. In the Capital One (League) Cup we are in the semi-final, we qualified in the Champions League and we are at the top of the Premier League.

"Maybe eight games ago, nobody believed we could discount six points to Arsenal. We did it. We won the last seven games and we drew one. We must continue this way but we are just in the first half of the Premier League. The second half will be exactly the same as the first one, with five or six teams fighting for the title to the end."

He needed a rest. He worked always very hard but he was always confident he would return to his position.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini on goalkeeper Joe Hart

Dzeko turned in Jesus Navas's cut-back in the 66th minute to secure the three points that sent City top, but Joe Hart's performance in goal was also a crucial factor. Hart pulled off three fine saves in the second half to deny Jason Puncheon, Mile Jedinak and Joel Ward.

The England international only returned to City's starting line-up for league games in December having being dropped by Pellegrini after a string of poor performances, but he now looks back to his best.

"I think he always knew what we think about him," said Pellegrini. "He needed a rest. He worked always very hard but he was always confident he would return to his position. He is playing at his normal performance (level) as the good goalkeeper he is."

Hart suffered a nasty cut below his eye when denying Cameron Jerome in the first half, which led to the Palace forward going off with an ankle injury and left the City goalkeeper needing lengthy treatment. Pellegrini said that Hart's facial injury was "not serious", but City later revealed that he had required six stitches.