Sunderland V Man City at Stadium of Light : Match Preview

10 November 2013 08:59
Sunderland V Man City - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Pellegrini praise for strike pair

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has hailed the "incredible" Sergio Aguero and strike partner Alvaro Negredo but wants to share out praise for their goals.

Aguero and Negredo have struck up a fearsome partnership in the opening months of the season and have already scored nine goals between them.

Aguero is leading the way with 13 after a hot run of form that has seen him score nine in his last seven games.

Four of those came in three Barclays Premier League games in October and were enough to earn him the Player of the Month award.

Pellegrini said: "It is absolutely well deserved. Sergio has had an incredible last month.

"I always thought he was incredible because he is a top player, but now he is in a great moment."

Negredo has linked well with Aguero since his B#20million summer move from Sevilla and his performances are keeping Edin Dzeko out of the starting line-up.

The Spaniard scored a hat-trick while Aguero grabbed the other two in the 5-2 Champions League win over CSKA Moscow in midweek.

Yet Pellegrini insists there is much more to the goals than simply the form of the front two.

He said: "It is not only Aguero and Negredo - the team is playing very well.

"All the midfielders - (David) Silva, (Samir) Nasri, (Yaya) Toure, Fernandinho - are really playing very well.

"The way the team plays I also think benefits both of them."

City are in good heart after their victory over CSKA took them into the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time.

They now turn their attention back to the Premier League and this weekend's trip to struggling Sunderland.

Last weekend's 7-0 thrashing of Norwich at the Etihad Stadium was a powerful reminder of their force but their away form has so far been indifferent.

City have collected just four points from five games on the road but Pellegrini will continue to approach all games in the same manner.

He said: "I think about different things - one is the Premier League, one is Champions League.

"We finished with the Champions League last Tuesday now we must think about the Premier League.

"But we don't need to change the mind. We are always involved in both competitions exactly the same.

"Normally teams do not play the same way away as at home, it is different, but not in our case."

City must overcome their recent poor record at the Stadium of Light, having lost 1-0 on each of their last three visits.

They are without playmaker Silva, who suffered a calf injury against CSKA and could be out for up to four weeks.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet will again be without suspended duo Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena for the clash.

Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is available again after sitting out the midweek 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Southampton with a head injury, but he may face a battle to oust deputy Vito Mannone, while full-back Ondrej Celustka is fit despite hobbling off against the Saints.

Poyet has told his Sunderland players they still have time to clinch a place in his long-term plans.

The 45-year-old Uruguayan inherited a squad in turmoil when he took over from Paolo Di Canio at the Stadium of Light last month, and is still assessing what he has at his disposal.

Poyet hinted earlier this week that he was not entirely convinced by a summer transfer policy which saw the Black Cats lose Simon Mignolet, Stephane Sessegnon and loan signing Danny Rose and recruit 14 new players under director of football Roberto De Fanti.

However, as he prepares to deliver his verdict on the squad when the recruitment team meets to discuss the way forward during the forthcoming international break, he admits his views are changing all the time.

He said: "It changes, I won't say daily, but the most important part for me is Saturday at 3pm.

"When a player performs on Saturday at 3pm - people will say to me Wednesday, 7.45pm, Tuesday, I think it's 2.05pm this Sunday - but that's the most important thing.

"Yes, we make sure that they train well, we make sure that we do all the basics, but at the end of the day when it matters is Saturday at 3pm.

"That's when I learn the most for when I take my decisions and write my report about every single player, if we need and where we need (strengthening).

"I am going to have a meeting, it's going to be next week or the beginning of the following week, so then I will know everything.

"It's going to be either this week or the beginning of the following, but it's going to be in the next two weeks, for sure."

Source: PA