Pellegrini could go on the attack
Published 09/05/2015 | 13:21
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini could toy with the idea of playing three strikers as he looks for a long-term winning formula.
Top scorer Sergio Aguero has been the lone frontman as City have found some stabilty after a rocky spell by winning their last three Barclays Premier League games.
But Pellegrini does not feel this necessarily represents the best system and would rather operate with more forwards, even though his reliance on his favoured 4-4-2 has brought mixed results - and criticism - this season.
Asked if he might have settled on the optimum system after wins over West Ham, Aston Villa and Tottenham playing 4-2-3-1, Pellegrini said: "No, I don't think so. I think that a big team must play with two strikers at least, or three, if you see Barcelona play with (Luis) Suarez, Neymar and (Lionel) Messi, and Real Madrid play with (Karim) Benzema, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Gareth) Bale.
"But I don't think that is the most important thing. The important thing is in the way you play and the style you want to have with your team."
Aguero has profited in the new system, scoring in each of those last three games to take his tally for the campaign to 28.
But in past seasons the Argentinian has benefited more from the presence of a reliable partner.
He has not had that this term with Alvaro Negredo having left, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic having lacked form and fitness and new signing Wilfried Bony yet to spark.
Bony, the £28million January signing, has so far been a disappointment, scoring just once, but Pellegrini insists the Ivorian will come good and solve more problems than he creates.
He said: "It is not a problem - it is a solution to the problem. Both of them are, and Edin Dzeko in some moments.
"Last year was Negredo with Kun (Aguero), Dzeko with Negredo, Dzeko with Kun, and Jovetic, and we scored 156 goals during the whole season.
"I never think that good players and strikers can be a problem."
Pellegrini believes relegation-threatened QPR, this weekend's opponents at the Etihad Stadium, can also be flexible in their attack.
Seven points adrift of a safe position with three games to play, Rangers have little room for error in their survival battle and Pellegrini expects them to look to get forward.
He said: "Maybe in the position they are in in the table, they need to win the three games.
"Maybe you can come here with two strikers, as they did against us in London with (Bobby) Zamora or (Charlie) Austin or they can speculate and try to win the game on the counter-attack.
"But it doesn't matter who is the team we must play against, they are always difficult teams with difficult players.
"It is very important to keep the same spirit we had in the last three games."
City's last three results have seen them all but secure a top-four position and get back into contention for the runners-up spot behind Chelsea.
They will still need a slip-up from Arsenal to claim second, but their position is at least looking better than a month ago.
When City crashed to a humiliating 4-2 derby loss at Manchester United in April, their title bid was not only shattered but they even looked in danger of missing out on the Champions League. Speculation over the future of Pellegrini and a number of players was rife.
Pellegrini said: "It is important to finish well. We have won three games in a row. We have three games more and it is important for our team to try and win all the games.
"It doesn't depend on our team if we are going to be second or not because if Arsenal win all their games they will be second.
"But it is important to finish as near to the top of the table as we can."