Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini: My team are born again

By Mark Staniforth

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes his side have rediscovered their title-winning form after Sergio Aguero inspired a 4-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The Argentinian striker scored his side's first and fourth goals while other strikes from Stevan Jovetic and Pablo Zabaleta saw the visitors hit back from the shock of conceding an early opener to Connor Wickham.

City's win came straight after bouncing back to form with an equally comprehensive win at Southampton on Saturday and Pellegrini is convinced his side's early season struggles may now be over.

Pellegrini said: "I think we are returning to the performances we had last season. I think if we continue playing this way of course we will fight for the title, but I think three or four other teams will also be there."

Another masterful display from Aguero drew qualified praise from Pellegrini, who was keen to stress the team effort which enabled his side to end their run of four consecutive 1-0 defeats at the Stadium of Light.

Pellegrini said: "He is an important player but it is not just Sergio Aguero - we play in a way that it is very useful for him to score but it is important for him not just to think about scoring but to play for the team.

"There are a lot of good strikers but I said before the last game that I am sure he is one of the best five players in the world because he is not just scoring, he is playing very well."

Meanwhile Pellegrini (pictured) had encouraging news on captain Vincent Kompany, who has been ruled out for at least a week with a hamstring injury and is in a race against time to be fit for the crucial Champions League clash with Roma next Wednesday.

Pellegrini added: "Vincent is improving and maybe it is not such a serious injury as we thought at the beginning - but he needs to see (out) the week and we will see what happens."

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet admitted his side could have no complaints about the manner of City's victory but rued his team's inability to hold on to their early lead for more than two minutes.

Poyet said: "Sergio is unique and at this moment in time he is one of the top three on-form strikers.

"He has performed week in, week out whether it is against us or Bayern Munich and it shows.

"I can't have too many complaints - they were better than us in every aspect of the game. We started well and had a chance before we scored our goal, but then Aguero appears from nowhere and does something special."

Poyet admitted his side's gruelling fixture schedule told against City, coming so soon after a gutsy goalless draw against Chelsea at the weekend.

He added: "It's hard on us to play these two games consecutively and the physical demands were a lot.

"We thought before the game we would be on the same level and we would be able to compete - but we were not."

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