Manuel Pellegrini refusing to think about the Manchester derby – as he’s preoccupied with Newcastle cup tie

Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini

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MANUEL Pellegrini says the Manchester derby is the last thing on his mind – as he’s focused on tomorrow night’s cup tie against Newcastle United.

Champions Manchester City dropped to third the Premier League after last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham United.

And next up in the league are fierce rivals Manchester United, who visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

But City manager Pellegrini won’t start thinking about the derby until the last ball has been kicked in the fourth-round Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle.

“We are first thinking about Newcastle on Wednesday,” said Pellegrini, whose team beat Sunderland in last season’s final to lift the cup.

“When we finish Newcastle, we think about Man United.”

Pellegrini has insisted that his side can handle the pressure of trying to sustain a successful defence of their league crown.

City are only six points off leaders Chelsea after Robin van Persie’s dramatic stoppage time equaliser earned Man United a 1-1 draw against Jose Mourinho’s team on Sunday.

Pellegrini stressed it is too early to talk about who will win the title, and said his side will just carry on in the manner which saw them hunt down both Liverpool and Chelsea over the run-in last season.

“The pressure is to win the title, the pressure is to retain the title,” said Pellegrini.

“My pressure, I think, is the best pressure for me.

“We are in the third position of the table in this moment. We must continue playing as champions.”