Jose Mourinho???s men went six points clear before City kicked off with a 2-0 win over West Ham on Boxing Day but City responded in emphatic style and had their game sewn up by half-time with three goals in the opening 34 minutes from Fernando, Yaya Toure and David Silva.
???It???s a very important game as it???s not easy to play on Boxing Day,??? he said.
???It???s important to start this week of three games in this way. We are trying to keep winning, not think about Chelsea. We have 20 games more to see which team does better in the second half of the season. I don???t think there are just two teams in the race for the title.???
City???s eight straight victory was once again achieved despite Pelligrini not being able to pick any of his striking contingent of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic from the start.
All three of Man City???s goals were scored by midfielders and the manager was keen to stress the significance of his midfielders getting on the scoresheet.
???We are doing well [with no strikers],??? he said.
???We have changed the style of play to give more time for the midfielders to arrive in the box. We are creating space and using the space at the right moments. It???s very important that our midfielders score.???