Manchester City’s free-scoring form has handed manager Manuel Pellegrini a boost ahead of crucial matches against Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday and Manchester United in the derby on Sunday.
The Chilean has orchestrated three consecutive victories since the team’s 4-1 loss to Spurs late last month, as the team looks to have rekindled the irresistible form that saw them win their first five Premier League matches without conceding a goal.
In spite of losing the crucial dual threat of David Silva and Sergio Aguero to injury, City continued in their rich vein of goal-scoring form which has seen them net 13 times in their last three games.
With such big games looming for the club, Manuel Pellegrini will be delighted with the form of his nonetheless-depleted front line.
“We had to do something different because we were without Sergio Aguero and David Silva,” said the former Real Madrid manager, nicknamed the engineer given he trained in civil engineering years ago.
“I am happy because we changed Sterling’s position and played him in the middle, with Bony in front of him.
“We felt it was better for him to be near Bony and also near the box. With his movement we thought Raheem could be dangerous.”
Raheem Sterling first ever professional hat-trick against Bournemouth provides Pellegrini with the option of starting the England international in a more central position to dovetail with Wilfried Bony and allow Kevin De Bruyne to play slightly wider on the left where he has flourished.
With Spanish side Sevilla visiting the Etihad on Wednesday, the City manager, who spent nine years working in La Liga – managing Villarreal, Real Madrid, and Málaga – from 2004 to 2013, the Citizens now have the option of deploying their new-found attacking trident with confidence.
Sterling, clearly buoyed by his match-winning showing against Eddie Howe’s newly-promoted outfit, emphasised he is always looking to improve.
“In training I have been working on one-on-one situations in a few sessions.
“It is something I will keep working on and hopefully I will get better at it.”
Wilfried Bony, who scored a double himself as well as assisting Sterling’s first, was also full of praise for City’s summer signing from Liverpool, insisting he and Sterling can play in tandem to great effect.
“We talked a lot in training this week,” said the 26-year-old Ivorian. “I know he is very quick and I told him if I jump you have to run, there is no need to think about if I win the ball or not.”
With Sergio Aguero out, Bony is all but sure to start in the Manchester derby on Sunday, and the former Swansea man is keen to dispel any lingering doubts surrounding his place in the City squad.
“When we have the ball I look to show myself,” said Bony.
“It worked today.”
In spite of fan frustration at his supposed lack of efficacy, Bony averages a goal or an assist for the club for every 105 minutes he spends on the pitch: an improvement of his Swansea average of a goal or assist every 111 minutes.
Like Bony, who will be confident of a starting berth against Sevilla midweek, City captain Vincent Kompany will be hopeful of returning to the team following a month out with injury.
Kompany, who featured for Belgium against Israel in the latest round of internationals, is now fit and will be looking to get some game time ahead of City’s trip to Old Trafford this weekend.
On his talismanic centre-back, Pellegrini said: “He was on the bench because he played for Belgium on Tuesday and couldn’t work on Wednesday and Thursday.
“I think working just one day after one month injured is not enough to play again.”
Image courtesy of Alex Morton/Action Images, with thanks.