MANUEL Pellegrini has given Manchester City an “extra push” in his first year in charge, Spanish playmaker David Silva said in hailing the Chilean’s impact with City on the brink of their second Premier League title in three seasons.
Since taking over from Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium last June, Pellegrini has guided City to the summit of the table with 83 points and a two-point advantage and vastly superior goal difference over second-placed Liverpool.
Pellegrini’s side host West Ham United today and only a major shock would prevent City adding the Premier League title to the League Cup they won in March.
Free-scoring City have hit 100 league goals this season but Silva believes the manager’s influence transcends results and performances.
“He’s made it a happy place,” Silva said. “He’s brought a joy and happiness; also to our style of play. We are attack-minded and we score lots of goals.
“He’s made us competitive in every competition. We’ve gone further in them this season. He’s given us that extra push and taken us one step further.
“His calmness has been obvious. He’s added that to the whole club. And it really helps us at difficult moments”
After playing a starring role in City’s first Premier League title win in 2012, Silva endured a subdued season last year, but the 28-year-old has been back to his dazzling best in this campaign and he credits Pellegrini’s attacking style as the catalyst.
“Having Manuel here has helped me. It’s been really good for me. My style of play is more suited to an attacking style. He’s helped me develop as a player. You always want to improve as an individual.
“It’s been a good year for me. I’ve felt good in myself though I’ve suffered with this ankle problem. I’m still feeling it and I’ve been playing through the pain. If I get through these next couple of games, I can get some rest and be fit and ready for the World Cup.”
City are expected to comfortably overcome a mid-table West Ham with little to play for but Silva was quick to reiterate City’s message in the title run-in: “fight to the end”.
After watching title rivals Liverpool surrender a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 against Crystal Palace on Monday, Silva said the team must be wary of West Ham and cannot take anything for granted.
“Everyone is saying we have it won but we still think it will be very difficult,” he said. “The games now are like finals. We cannot be complacent. It was a warning to us about what can happen.
“We know if we get the win, we win the league, so there is pressure, but you have to enjoy these moments. They don’t come along all that often.”
City beat West Ham 6-0 on the London side’s last visit to the Etihad Stadium, in the Capital One Cup in January, and a repeat would certainly do nicely.
Pellegrini said: “We beat them here in the Capital One Cup, it was a very good game and I hope we can repeat it tomorrow, but the best way to do it is to play in the same way.”
City’s 4-0 victory over Villa in midweek took their tally of league goals for the campaign to 100. Sergio Aguero – who has scored 17 of those goals, and is the club’s top scorer overall with 28 – could return after missing the midweek win with a groin injury.