Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini lied to his players about Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Southampton, before his side took on West Ham on Saturday evening, The Express has revealed.

Micah Richards, who played his first league game of the season was told that United, Chelsea and Arsenal had all won their respective games, and that they had to beat The Hammers to keep the pressure up on their rivals for the title.

“I didn’t know United had conceded a late equaliser,” Richards said.

“The manager (Pellegrini) said they had won, and that Arsenal and Chelsea had also won so we thought we had to win against West Ham. Maybe it was a bit of reverse psychology. We just knew we had to win. We couldn’t drop points.”

United were beating Southampton 1-0 thanks to a Robin van Persie goal in the first half which – the Dutchman’s 7th goal in 10 games this season – but, with two minutes remaining, Dejan Lovern’s header was deflected in by Adam Lallana to take a point back to St Mary’s.

Manchester City on the other hand defeated West Ham 3-1 at Upton Park, a result which puts the Citizens fourth in the table, three points behind league leaders Arsenal.