Manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City must sign “big name” players this summer in order to keep pace with their rivals.

Ahead of City’s crucial clash at Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football – a game they have to win in order to regain second place in the Premier League – Pellegrini was coy on the club’s recruitment plans.

But he said: “It is the way of thinking that big teams need to sign a big player. It is very difficult to do it every year, but every two years you must do it.

“I’m not just talking about Manchester City. You see Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich – all the big clubs – they all do it. It is important to have big names.

“I don’t want to talk about plans for next season because we have to finish this season. It is very important the way we finish this season before we analyse all the players. So it is not the right moment to talk about it.”

Victory at Selhurst Park will see City move to within six points of leaders Chelsea but Pellegrini admits they must now be wary of both Arsenal and Manchester United, who moved above them with wins over Liverpool and Aston Villa respectively at the weekend.

He said: “We are not thinking about just one team. I think it is important for our team to finish at the top of the table but if we can’t win the Premier League then we must try to be second.

“But it is important to play from now until the end of the season in a way that shows you are an important team and are prepared to fight until the last game to try and retain the title.”

Watch Crystal Palace v Manchester City live on Sky Sports 1 HD, from 7.30pm on Easter Monday or via a Sky Sports Day Pass for £6.99