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Manuel Pellegrini far from complacent

21 January 2014

Manchester City are within touching distance of Wembley as they take a 6-0 lead to West Ham for the second leg of the Capital One Cup Semi-Final

Manchester City head to West Ham United for the second leg of their Capital One Cup Semi-Final with a massive 6-0 lead and a place in the Final all but assured.

“The semi-final is not finished,” insisted City manager Manuel Pellegrini, but not many would agree with the Chilean who is on the brink of a Wembley Final and perhaps his first trophy since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in the summer.

“Of course we have made an important step,” added Pellegrini, “but we must see which players will play and the way we will do it.”

Whichever players turn out in the second leg, if City play in anything like the way they did in their home leg then they will comfortably go through.

They simply blew the Hammers away, Alvaro Negredo netting a hat-trick and fellow striker Edin Dzeko scoring twice to take his Capital One Cup tally to six goals as City took their competition aggregate to 16-1 in four outings. 

And on Tuesday evening at Upton Park, having passed 100 goals for the season in Saturday’s 4-2 Premier League win against Swansea City, they will doubtless be out for more of the same as they set their sights on March 2nd’s Final.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will be aiming to restore a vestige of pride as his struggling team, stuck in the Premier League relegation zone, look for a morale boost that could raise their hopes of avoiding the drop.

While the Hammers seem almost certain to come out of the second leg with top flight survival their only aim, City should be looking to make the Capital One Cup the first of what could be a history-making quadruple of trophies.

Currently lying second to Arsenal in the Premier League, City are favourites to take the title and are also seen as more than viable candidates to lift both the FA Cup and, most prestigiously, the Champions League trophy.

Local rivals Manchester United, who on Wednesday will reach the Capital One Cup Final if they turn around a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against Sunderland, have landed the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Can City go one better? “It’s difficult, but we’ll try," said Pellegrini. “The most important thing is to try and have the mentality that it doesn’t matter what competition you are playing, it’s important to play well and to try to win."

“It is very important for the team to continue in the Capital One Cup. It is an important competition and to get to the Final at Wembley would be wonderful.”

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