REUTERS – Manchester City have the attacking options to cope with the absence of first-choice striker Sergio Aguero, manager Manuel Pellegrini said while admitting the Argentine is impossible to replace.
After a quiet start to the campaign, Aguero scored five goals in the 6-1 win over Newcastle United this month but much to City’s dismay he tore a muscle in his left thigh while on international duty.
With the injury set to keep Aguero on the sidelines for a month, Pellegrini is confident he can bank on his other strikers, Wilfried Bony and 19-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho.
“Kun (Aguero) is impossible to replace but we know we have another option in attack,” Pellegrini told reporters after Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the League Cup.
“I think this moment it’s important for the team to have Kelechi and Bony as options without Kun.
“They can play both together as they did tonight. Bony played well tonight. Of course Kelechi was very impressive but Wilfried is quiet as he knows he has my trust and his teammates’ trust,” he added.
City have scored 12 goals in four games without Aguero and Pellegrini praised Iheanacho after his strong display against Palace, with the Nigerian scoring one goal and setting up two.
“It was very important for Kelechi to demonstrate once again that he’s a very good player. He has things to improve but he’s working in the correct way,” Pellegrini said.
“After that, with more space for Manu Garcia. He’s a player who can play behind the striker or as a striker and he can arrive into the box to score the goals as he did tonight.”
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew said his side deserved the battering they got from City as they failed to convert their chances and hoped his players would recover in time for Saturday’s league clash against Manchester United.
“We deserved to be beat. We were a bit short and we need to strengthen and get some bodies back for Saturday,” Pardew said after the game.
“I was really disappointed we didn’t take the chances we created. They were three or four moments at crucial times. You have to take those.”
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)