Man City showing title credentials - Manuel Pellegrini

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Manchester City 1-0 Crystal Palace: Manuel Pellegrini relieved after tough win

Manuel Pellegrini believes the manner of Manchester City's recent Premier League victories have underlined their title-winning credentials.

City went top of the Premier League after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The victory followed Boxing Day's 2-1 win over Liverpool and last week's 4-2 triumph at Fulham.

"I think the team that wants to win the title must have different faces," said City boss Pellegrini.

"Normally we score lots of goals here [at Etihad Stadium] and we always attack but we knew 44 hours [after facing Liverpool] we were not able to do that."

The 2011-12 Premier League champions are now two points clear of Arsenal, who play seventh-placed Newcastle on Sunday.

City have registered four consecutive league wins for the first time under Pellegrini and the Chilean manager stressed the importance of winning in different circumstances after averaging four goals a game at home prior to the Palace victory.

And he underlined his side's resilience after playing so soon after the Liverpool game on Boxing Day.

"The most important thing of the last three games we won [is to win in different ways]," Pellegrini told BBC Sport.

"Against Fulham we were winning 2-0 very easily and in five minutes they were drawing 2-2, so to have the reaction and the personality to win again was important playing away.

"After losing 1-0 to Liverpool - the best team in the Premier League at that moment - we then scored two goals. And on Saturday we had the patience and the maturity as a team to win in the way we had to."

Edin Dzeko's 50th Manchester City goal sealed a first 1-0 home victory this season and also preserved City's 100% league record at Etihad Stadium.

Pellegini's side were also thankful to Joe Hart, who made several good saves to deny Palace despite suffering a badly cut eye in the first half after a collision with Cameron Jerome.

The City boss suggested Hart should be fit enough to play against Swansea on New Year's Day, saying: "He has a cut below his eye, but it's not a serious problem and I think he played very well again.

"I think he's doing better now than the first part of the season that's why I was absolutely sure that the rest would be very useful for him."

Pellegrini, who made six changes to the side that beat Liverpool, added: "We never thought it was going to be easy, the way that Crystal Palace play.

"I also know that it would be impossible for the team to recover in 44 hours and after a hard game against Liverpool."

Palace manager Tony Pulis was pleased with the effort of his side despite losing for a fourth successive game.

"It was a second game on the road," he started. "Aston Villa was a draining game and then to come to what looks as though will be the champions, if anything, and put in a performance like that, was fantastic.

"The difference is they've spent about £350m on their team. The weekly wages of one of their players would probably cover half of ours. It would be lovely to manage that team, I would be sat on the side, then, with a cigar in my mouth."

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