Aguero blow for Pellegrini
Published 31/01/2014 | 16:37
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini expects the goals to continue flowing despite injury to the player he regards as the most important at the club.
Top scorer Sergio Aguero is set for a month on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury as City moved top of the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday with a 5-1 win at Tottenham.
The prolific Argentinian had taken his tally for the season to 26 before limping off just before half-time at White Hart Lane.
But with 115 goals scored in total by City this season, Pellegrini is not overly concerned.
City won seven and drew one during Aguero's month-long absence with a calf injury recently.
Pellegrini said: "Of course it is very difficult because Sergio is a top player for us but I think we will replace him.
"Sergio has just come back from an injury when he could not play for a month, and all the other strikers - Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and now Stevan Jovetic - replaced him.
"I hope they continue the same way but, I repeat, we lose the most important player at the club."
Aguero had been playing in just his fifth game since returning from the calf injury and he had scored in all of them, including a hat-trick against Watford in the FA Cup.
His new problem will rule him out of next Monday's top-of-the-table clash with Chelsea and the follow-up meeting in the FA Cup fifth round later in the month.
Most notably, he will also miss the first leg of City's last-16 glamour tie against Barcelona in the Champions League but there is a possibility he could face Sunderland in the Capital One Cup final on March 2.
Without Aguero, City will host Chelsea on Monday looking to assert themselves at the top of the table.
The convincing win at Spurs lifted Pellegrini's men into first place and prompted opposing manager Tim Sherwood to describe them as the best team on the planet.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho attempted to crank up the pressure ahead of Monday's game by dismissing that statement.
"Maybe, for the Tottenham manager, the planet is England," the Portuguese said.
Mourinho has, however, said recently he regards City as title favourites, even though his third-placed side beat them in October and trail them by just three points.
But Pellegrini, who was replaced as Real Madrid boss by Mourinho in 2010, has no interest in any verbal jousting.
He said: "I feel I never comment on nothing that Mourinho says.
"I don't have nothing against Mourinho. It is not me against Mourinho, or him against me.
"On Monday it is Manchester City against Chelsea, both teams are fighting for the title. Nothing more."
Pellegrini is also too modest to agree with Sherwood.
"I don't know if we are the best team on the planet," the Chilean said.
"I know that if we play every game the way we played, especially the first 45 minutes - for the whole game but, of course, after they were with one player less it was little a bit easier - we are a very good team."
What is not in doubt is the importance of Monday's eagerly-anticipated contest.
Pellegrini said: "For both teams it is a game of six points.
"With Arsenal we are the three involved for the fight for the title, and also Liverpool and Everton, so every game we play against all those teams is a game for six points."