MANCHESTER City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Blackburn Rovers will move up the Championship if they repeat the performance they produced against his side at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Pellegrini was impressed by Gary Bowyer’s team in the 1-1 FA Cup third-round draw.
He said: “I think it was a very close match and we had more options than Blackburn Rovers, more clear options, but we played against a very strong team here at home with lots of motivation.
“Disappointed? No. Of course everyone wants to win all the games but I repeat we played against a very strong team at home.
“I’m sure if Blackburn play the same way (in the Championship) they would maybe be in a different position in the table.”
City went into the tie on the back of a seven-game winning run which had seen them beat holders Bayern Munich in the Champions League and Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League.
But City were below par for most of the match.
However Pellegrini, who had no complaints with Dedryck Boyata’s late sending off and insisted his players did not underestimate Rovers.
The replay will take place at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, January 15 and means City will have to cancel a planned trip to Abu Dhabi where they had been expected to play a friendly against Al Ain on Tuesday, January 14 and spend the rest of the week warm-weather training.