Manchester City aim to bounce back after Chelsea setback

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 10:27pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 12:52am


Manchester City will look to get their Premier League title challenge back on track when they face Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.

City's 20-match unbeaten run, which had yielded 18 victories, came to an end with their 1-0 defeat to title rivals Chelsea at Eastlands on Monday.

City could be five points behind the Gunners by the time they start their match in Norfolk and Pellegrini knows losing further ground would cause significant damage to his team's title ambitions. City midfielder Fernandinho has revealed that he will be available again in 15 days after a thigh problem kept him out of the Chelsea defeat.

On Thursday he tweeted: "I would like to quell rumours. I return to play in 15 days or less."

It remains to be seen whether the Brazilian midfielder will be able to return to action to face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on February 18.

With James Milner and Jack Rodwell both short of fitness, Pellegrini pressed centre-back Martin Demichelis into a midfield role against Chelsea.

Pellegrini will also monitor the fitness of Alvaro Negredo, who has been struggling with a shoulder problem, and the Spaniard could be replaced by Stevan Jovetic to allow the Montenegro striker a first league start since September.

Meanwhile, Norwich will kick off only two points ahead of third-bottom West Ham and with the memories of their 7-0 thrashing against City earlier this season still fresh in their memories.

The Canaries contributed two own goals to that early November humiliation at Eastlands and will go into the rematch having won just one of their last 11 fixtures in all competitions.

Despite that dismal run, Norwich manager Chris Hughton is confident his players can put on a better show second time around.

"Manchester City can score goals at will but it's a really good challenge for us," he said.

"We have to put everything together and look forward to it. We know that we'll have a fantastic crowd behind us."