(Adds Aguero quote in para 18)
By Martyn Herman
May 3 (Reuters) - Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini warned his side not to take their eye off the ball despite a 3-2 victory at Everton on Saturday that put them in reach of the Premier League title.
Edin Dzeko's double after Sergio Aguero had cancelled out Ross Barkley's early effort moved City above Liverpool on goal difference with both sides having two matches to play.
Home victories over Aston Villa on Wednesday and West Ham United in next Sunday's season finale would almost certainly secure a second title in three seasons for City even if Liverpool also ended with two wins as they have a healthy goal difference advantage over the Anfield club.
It looks their title to lose now, although Chilean Pellegrini was not getting carried away.
"I think that the worst thing we can do is to think we've finished the Premier League now," Pellegrini told reporters.
"We have to play games against teams who play with no pressure so it's important that from tomorrow, we start to think about the game against Aston Villa - we take each game as it comes.
"We won and that's the important thing in this moment - the pressure is too high to play our best football but we played well and coped with it," the 60-year old added.
"Maybe the team was nervous at 3-2 but we defended well. We started one goal down so it wasn't easy to recover from that beautiful goal.
"After that we managed the game very well, we scored three and had other chances to score."
Since losing to Liverpool on April 13 and then drawing with Sunderland, results that seemed to have derailed their title bid, City have won three in a row, including tricky away games at Crystal Palace and now Everton.
"I think it's very important to continue in the way we are doing so far - today was the last game away from home and we started this season with four points from the first six away games so I think this team is doing much better in this respect," Pellegrini said.
Despite their position of strength, City captain Vincent Kompany also warned that nothing is decided.
"We've had a lot of tough times this season but also wonderful games," he told Sky Sports.
"The most important thing is to pick up form at the right time and we have two home games left but the past has taught us to be careful. It's two games at home but it doesn't mean anything."
It was a subdued atmosphere at Goodison Park with many home fans caught in two minds between cheering their team and hoping City pip Everton's Merseyside rivals Liverpool to the title.
Barkley's sensational curled opener after 11 minutes did raise the volume though as Everton threatened to scupper City's hopes of taking a huge stride towards the Premier League trophy.
Barkley's right-foot shot left City's England goalkeeper Joe Hart grasping at thin air, underlining why the midfielder could still be included in England's World Cup squad later this month.
Aguero brought City level after 22 minutes with a near-post shot before hobbling off shortly afterwards but later tweeted: "I left (the pitch) just as a precaution. Fortunately I'm fine, happy for the goal, the win and keeping our dream alive."
Dzeko put City ahead in the 43rd minute with a towering header and then stabbed in Samir Nasri's low cross five minutes into the second half shortly after a brilliant Hart save denied Steven Naismith.
City had to survive a nervous finale after Lukaku's diving header and Hart was forced into a terrific late save to deny Gerard Deulofeu an equaliser.
"We've won twice in our last 10 times here and Everton played really good today," Pellegrini said.
"You could clearly see that they wanted to win from the beginning and it was a very tough game for us." (Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris/Rex Gowar)
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Sergio Aguero
- Aston Villa
- Ross Barkley
- Premier League