Pellegrini backs Sterling to thrive with City style
Manuel Pellegrini goes into the first big showdown with title rivals Chelsea tomorrow believing that he can get the best out of new signing Raheem Sterling, whose final season at Liverpool did not live up to expectations.
The reason for the Manchester City manager’s confidence is that he believes Sergio Aguero and David Silva can create the kind of space for the £49m winger that Luis Suarez did in the 2013-14 season where Liverpool finished second.
“I think he scored 11 in all competitions last season and I am sure he will do better in this one,” said Pellegrini before the visit of Chelsea, who had hopes of signing the 20-year-old, but City’s early and very high initial bid put them off.
“If you are playing alongside good players, you will improve, in the same way that Sterling did when he had Suarez or Steven Gerrard for Liverpool. Here, he will play with Silva, Aguero and Yaya Touré who will improve him in a lot of ways.
“Maybe we were criticised for the amount we paid for him. But I am sure he will demonstrate, especially against the big teams, why he was valued so much.”
Having begun confidently with a 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion, Pellegrini knows victory over the champions would make a significant statement.
“Beating a team like Chelsea gives you a lot of trust in what you are doing,” he said.
“You can create a gap from the beginning. We are not thinking about the title yet, but it is important to create a gap between the big teams.”
City still expect to strengthen with Wolfsburg’s Kevin De Bruyne, although reports that they have met Barcelona’s buyout clause for Pedro are thought to be precautionary in case the De Bruyne deal falls through.
“This is a strong squad,” said Pellegrini. “The squad is at their best age and the important thing is for them to be ambitious, have a winning mind and improve in Europe.”