Pellegrini hails away win

Congleton Guardian: Manuel Pellegrini wants his team to play until the final whistle Manuel Pellegrini wants his team to play until the final whistle

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini hailed his side's return to form away from home even though they took their foot off the gas in the dying stages.

City totally controlled the game at The Hawthorns, opening up a 3-0 lead over West Brom before conceding two late goals.

Sergio Aguero opened the scoring in the ninth minute, sweeping home his 17th goal of the season, as many as West Brom have managed from their entire squad.

Yaya Toure then produced a deft touch 15 minutes later to a low ball from Aleksandar Kolarov, and but for a fine save from Boaz Myhill to deny Aguero it could have been 3-0 before the interval.

A Toure penalty after 72 minutes gave City their third before Albion pulled one back courtesy of a Costel Pantilimon own goal four minutes from time and added a second four minutes into injury time from Victor Anichebe.

The scoreline was perhaps rough justice on City, who remain six points behind leaders Arsenal at the top of the Barclays Premier League, but it at least ended back-to-back away defeats.

"We played very well. In other (away) games we played as well as we did in this game, but for some reason we didn't score the two early goals like we did here," assessed Pellegrini.

"We had a lot of chances to score, and for 45 minutes we were very good. The scoreline doesn't tell the story. It was not such a close match as the score says.

"Maybe we were thinking of the next game before we finished this one, and in football the game is not over until the final whistle.

"So they scored two late goals, which is why it finished 3-2, but we certainly had more advantage over the whole game.

"The game was more easy than we thought which is why we relaxed in the final few minutes."

For Pellegrini, the result rather than the scoreline was all that mattered, adding: "We were not trying to send a message, we were trying to add points which is more important.

"For us it was important to win away, and we'll try to do it again on Saturday (at Southampton) before we then play Arsenal."

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke rightly acknowledged City as being "a really, really good team" and that the two early goals killed off his side's challenge.

Clarke said: "We wanted to stay in the game as long as possible, but they managed to pull away with the two goals in the first half.

"That then makes it difficult when you are playing a good team.

"You can risk a little to try and get back in the game, but if you risk too much then you can end up doing serious damage to your goal difference.

"We tried our best to get back into the game in the second half, and even in the first we had some moments, some opportunities, we could have have created something, but didn't quite.

"It was a game where it had to go to 2-1, which at any stage in the second half would have given us a fighting chance.

"But the third goal from the penalty was a shocking goal to concede, and that more or less killed it.

"But credit to my players because we kept going and got our reward in the end with two late goals, which in my opinion puts a fairer reflection on the game."

Clarke, meanwhile, had no complaints with the two penalty decisions from referee Chris Foy.

The first was for Kolarov's tackle on Shane Long five minutes into the second half, and the second when Claudio Yacob brought down Kolarov that led to Toure's spot kick even though the midfielder appeared to get the ball first.

Clarke added: "Their penalty was a penalty, and the tackle on Shane, if given, would have been very soft."

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