Monday 26 February 2018

Jovetic brace pleases Pellegrini

Stevan Jovetic was on target twice in Manchester City's comfortable win
Stevan Jovetic was on target twice in Manchester City's comfortable win

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is delighted to see striker Stevan Jovetic make the most of his fresh start at the club.

The Montenegro international endured a miserable maiden campaign dogged by injury and illness but after a full pre-season he is firing on all cylinders again and scored twice in the 3-1 win over Liverpool.

He has seized the opportunity presented by injuries to Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero, who came off the bench to score City's third before Rickie Lambert forced Pablo Zabaleta into a late own goal.

Asked whether the striker had finally started to deliver Pellegrini said: "Yes and not only on his goals.

"He was working the whole game, without the ball too. He was very unlucky last season but we never had any doubt about this quality.

"To start the season in this way after an unlucky new season is good but I don't think it is like a new signing.

"We need four strikers. At this moment Stevan is doing very well but you cannot forget Negredo is injured.

"Edin Dzeko and Jovetic and Aguero are working well. It is important that they continue playing the way they did."

Last season Liverpool ran City a very close second in a nail-biting title race which went down to the final week of the season.

However, the way in which Pellegrini's side clinically dispatched their opponents suggested the gap may be wider this time around.

"For me these are games of six points - especially when you play at home," he added.

"Liverpool are an important team and one that will be fighting for the title.

"We have had a hard start to the season so it is important for us to win the second game."

Liverpool failed to make the most of having the better of the opening 35 minutes and the hope must be new £16million signing Mario Balotelli, watching from the directors' box after finalising his move from AC Milan, will give them an extra spark up front.

"I think that in the market to get someone in at that quality, the deal for us was very good," said manager Brendan Rodgers, who is not worried about the Italian's reputation for getting into trouble on and off the pitch.

"He is a world-class talent and it is an area we need to strengthen.

"It is a calculated risk but on where we believe can help him as a player and to mature as a young man.

"I don't have any concerns at all to be honest. It's that culture that has allowed me to have confidence that if he comes in it won't be affected.

"He comes in with a reputation but we hope at our club we can curb that behaviour. He knows he is part of a team.

"There are no egos and 'big time Charlies' in our squad. This is a group that's got to the Champions League because they are a team.

"I think there's excitement with them (about him) coming in. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

"One thing he doesn't lack is confidence. He has that belief and football arrogance and the best teams have that."

Rodgers has spent about £115million this summer, much of which came from the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but he knows that will count for nothing if they cannot turn it into points on the pitch.

"The goals we're disappointed with of course," he added on the game.

"The first goal we were not alert in the box so that was disappointing. The second goal they have worked quite well but sometimes you have to compliment the quality.

"If you buy players it doesn't guarantee you anything. You can spend as much money as you want but it doesn't guarantee you anything.

"I'm only confident that they are going to get better."

Press Association

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