Manchester - Manchester City look to be saving their best
until last as they aim to finish a testing season on a high.
Manuel Pellegrini's side have a Champions League semi-final
against Real Madrid to look forward to in the Chilean's last few weeks in
charge at the Etihad Stadium.
And when City travel to relegation-threatened Newcastle
United on Tuesday, they will be chasing a fourth successive Premier League win.
A sustained title challenge never really materialised as
City suffered from injuries and a loss of form at key moments as both Leicester
City and Tottenham Hotspur got away from them at the top of the table.
But City's late burst should be enough to secure them a
top-four place and guaranteed Champions League football for next season.
Saturday's 3-0 win over soon-to-be-deposed English champions
Chelsea, which featured Sergio Aguero's hat-trick, suggested City are nearing
top form and midfielder Yaya Toure said: "We played very well. I thought
the whole team played really well.
"I think it was one of the best games we've played this
season, because it is not easy to dominate the way we did when playing at
Toure was back in City's starting line-up for the first time
in five games following a spell out with a knee injury.
- De Bruyne and Nasri boost -
City have also benefitted from the recent return to fitness
of creative midfielders Kevin de Bruyne and Samir Nasri.
And Toure believes that if all City's key men avoid further
injury to offer continued support to top scorer-Aguero, then Pellegrini's side
will take some stopping.
Also read: UCL semifinal pits Man City against Real Madrid
The Ivory Coast international added: "When Samir, de
Bruyne and Aguero are on the field together they play very well and can hurt
"I've missed two or three games through injury and it's
always difficult for me to watch my team-mates play without me.
"I always want to be involved and help my team whenever
I can. I always want to work hard and that's what I will continue to do because
we want to finish the season as strongly as possible."
City should also be buoyed at St James' Park, where they are
unbeaten since 2005 and have won on eight of their last nine visits, by the
return of captain Vincent Kompany and winger Raheem Sterling.
Kompany has missed City's last six games with the latest in
a long line of calf injuries, while England international Sterling has been out
for five games with a groin problem.
Meanwhile, Andros Townsend has set Newcastle a minimum
target of three wins from their remaining five games to clinch Premier League
Victory against City will see Rafa Benitez's side climb out
of the bottom three for the first time since early February as they look to
build on Saturday's 3-0 home win over Swansea.
Second-bottom Newcastle are aiming to avoid a second relegation
form the top flight in seven years, and England midfielder Townsend said:
"A lot of people have already written us off but the Swansea result has
given us a lift and we take a lot of confidence from having three of our last
five games at home."
One of their two remaining away matches is at
already-relegated Aston Villa, and Townsend added: "Winning three of those
final five will be difficult, but if we perform like we did against Swansea,
then we've got a chance. There's a belief in the dressing room that we can go
on a run and get ourselves out of trouble."
Injured defenders Fabricio Coloccini (calf) and Daryl
Janmaat (groin) are both unlikely to return in time for Tuesday's match.For
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