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Pellegrini: Man City Lifted by Aguero's Return
Guardian, February 24th, 2014 11:09AM

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Manuel Pellegrini underlined the importance of the return of Sergio Aguero after Manchester City’s tepid 1-0 win at home to Stoke City on Saturday. Since the Argentina international limped off during City’s 5-1 rout at Tottenham Hotspur last month, City has noticeably struggled for goals, scoring just once in its last three Premier League games, while surrendering five points in the process. Aguero, who has 26 goals in all competitions so far this season, is scheduled to return to full training on Tuesday and could be fit for the League Cup final against Sunderland at Wembley on Sunday.

"Agüero can give us all a huge lift, not just for the Capital One Cup final but for the rest of the season because, for me, he is one of the top five players in the world,” Pellegrini said. "He has been unlucky this season to have some injuries. He has had two long injuries but when he's fully fit, he is a player who can make the difference."

Neither Alvaro Negredo nor Edin Dzeko has managed to find the net since Aguero’s injury; the latter was especially embarrassed to miss a wide open net against Stoke on Saturday. Despite this, Pellegrini defended his strikers. "I'm sure Negredo and Dzeko will recover their normal performance level," he said. "Álvaro is coming back from a shoulder injury, which has bothered him a lot, Dzeko didn't play very well [against Stoke] but I trust in all of them to continue scoring, with the exception of [Stefan] Jovetic.” Jovetic, who came on as a substitute against Stoke, had to be replaced 15 minutes later after sustaining a hamstring injury.

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