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Pellegrini: Cup important for team

Manuel Pellegrini is determined to keep Manchester City firing on all fronts, even though he will make changes for Blackburn this weekend.

City begin their fourth trophy challenge of the season as they travel to the Skybet Championship side in the third round of the FA Cup.

They are well placed in all the others, being second in the Barclays Premier League, through to the last 16 of the Champions League and into the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Pellegrini wants to add the FA Cup to his list of targets but after four games in 12 days over Christmas, and a League Cup date with West Ham next Wednesday, he must utilise his squad.

He said: "We are going to make changes because we are playing too often in the last (few) weeks.

"We are going to try to have a good squad and to win the first game in our FA Cup (campaign) because for our team it is an important cup.

"I said from the beginning of the season if we are going to play in every competition we must play with exactly the same importance.

"The FA Cup is a very traditional competition here in England and in every country of Europe the cup is always an important competition.

"I just told the players it an important test for us, not only for the team but for individual performances.

"Some players will have the chance to play now in the FA Cup.

"As I said with the Capital One, both cups finish at Wembley and to finish at Wembley with a final is important for every team."

City boast a powerful squad and multiple changes for different competitions have barely affected their momentum in recent weeks.

Pellegrini made eight changes for last month's League Cup quarter-final at Championship high-flyers Leicester but a team containing Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Jesus Navas, David Silva and Edin Dzeko came through 3-1.

Pellegrini believes a similar test could await his side at Ewood Park.

He said: "All the teams playing at home are very difficult teams.

"Maybe Blackburn are not in the best moment in the Championship but, playing at home and playing against us, they will be very motivated and try to win.

"Maybe (it will be) a similar game to that we played against Leicester - a difficult game.

"If we think, 'We are in Premier League and they are in Championship - we are going to win', it is an important mistake.

"We must play with concentration, with intensity and with the tempo we need if we want to win."

Pellegrini is pleased with where his side stand at the midpoint of the season, but knows there are more important tests to come.

He said: "I am very happy because in all the competitions we are playing, we are in a good moment.

"It was a good first half of the season to prepare for what we must win, but we must win important things in the second (half) to be a successful season."

With Martin Demichelis currently injured, City have little other cover at centre-back for first-choice pair Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic, who have both had injury problems this season.

When asked further if Joleon Lescott could be loaned out, Pellegrini said: "At this moment, we are not considering. We will see in the future, during the transfer window, what will happen."

Midfielder Jack Rodwell will miss the Blackburn game with a hamstring injury.

Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer admits everyone at the club is looking forward to welcoming City to Ewood Park.

The 42-year-old has called upon players and supporters alike to enjoy the occasion but is under no illusions about Rovers' chances of progressing.

He said: "You can look at it two ways, you can meet the challenge head on or you can sit back and worry about this player and that player.

"We've decided to go the other way and enjoy it and measure where we are against them, and why not.

"We're just going to approach the game in the right manner and pay the respect to Manchester City but, at the same time, ask our players to express themselves. No one is expecting us to win, so it's a chance for us to go and enjoy ourselves.

"We're fully aware of the fact that for us to beat Manchester City we're going to need a hell of a lot of luck, we're going to need our players to be on top of their game and we might need Manchester City to have a really bad off-day because they've got some talent.

"If they rest some of the stars they've got then they're replacing them with other world-class stars.

"The opportunity to come and watch world stars - and that's what we're talking about - is very rare for the Blackburn public now because of the fact that we're not in the Premier League.

"We're hoping they'll come out in their thousands and make it a really good atmosphere and a really good day."

Bowyer is boosted by the availability of Tom Cairney and Rudy Gestede after both players made their loan moves permanent on Friday.

Bowyer will check on midfielder David Dunn, who has missed his side's last three matches with a hamstring problem. Jason Lowe returns from suspension and Corry Evans (ankle) remains doubtful.

Source : PA

Source: PA