Pellegrini's men close gap at the top of EPL table with convincing win over Southampton
London: Manchester City kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 4-1 win at home to Southampton in Saturday's early kick-off match.
Yaya Toure of Manchester City wins a header under pressure from Jose Fonte of Southampton during their Premier League match at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Victory saw City close to within a point of Liverpool with a game in hand and leapfrog Chelsea into second place. Liverpool are away to West Ham on Sunday. Everton and Arsenal, fifth and fourth respectively before the weekend, clash at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The opening four goals at Eastlands all came in the first half with City's Yaya Toure and Saints' Rickie Lambert both scoring from the penalty spot before Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko scored in stoppage-time to make it 3-1 to Manuel Pellegrini's men.
However, controversy surrounded Nasri's goal that made it 2-1 with David Silva, who played in the French midfielder, in an offside position when he received the ball only for referee Chris Foy and his linesmen to let play continue.
City substitute Stevan Jovetic completed the scoring nine minutes from time. "I haven't seen it (City's second goal) yet but it is the referee who decides," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports.
"I don't think the difference between the two sides was just one goal. "Southampton played very well in the first half with lots of possession. We didn't play well in the first half but we scored three goals and had two clear chances to score.
"I don't remember (City goalkeeper) Joe Hart making an important save. They had possession but no real chances to score.
"Now we have an important game against Liverpool. We shall see what happens, there is a lot of time to prepare. I don't think that game will decide the Premier League."
Meanwhile, Juan Mata scored twice as he helped Manchester United warm up for a daunting trip to Bayern Munich with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Newcastle at St James' Park.
The Spaniard curled in a brilliant free-kick to put the champions ahead six minutes before half-time and the 37.1 million pounds (USD 61.2m, 44.8m euros) January arrival from Chelsea showed his class and composure with a second goal five minutes into the second half.
Man City 4 - 1 Southampton
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Fulham
Cardiff 0 - 3 Crystal Palace
Hull 1 - 0 Swansea
Newcastle 0 - 4 Man Utd