West Ham v Manchester City: Stevan Jovetic has future at the Etihad, insists Manuel Pellegrini
Jovetic has seen his start to life with City hampered by injury but he could make his return against the Hammers in the League Cup semi-final second leg
Tuesday 21 January 2014
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini remains convinced injury-jinxed striker Stevan Jovetic can make a huge impression this season.
Jovetic, a £22million signing from Fiorentina last summer, has almost become City's forgotten man due to a catalogue of injuries and illness.
The Montenegro international has made just three starts - five appearances in total - and scored only twice for his new club.
Fellow strikers Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko have excelled without him, scoring 58 goals between them this season. Negredo was also signed last summer and club's other two other two major arrivals, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, have also made an impact.
Yet while Jovetic is so far the odd man out in those groups, he has had little luck and Pellegrini hopes that soon begins to change.
The 24-year-old is close to fitness and could get an opportunity as City, with a 6-0 aggregate lead, travel to West Ham for the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.
Pellegrini said: "It's an important chance for him to come back to play but I don't think he'll be able to play from the beginning or play 90 minutes.
"We'll talk with the doctor and if he doesn't have any risks then maybe he will be in the squad.
"He came here to play in the Premier League. He was a very important player in Italy for Fiorentina and I still believe he will be a very important player for us.
"He can really start playing often in the next three months and I think he can be the player we hoped he would be."
Jovetic's City career stalled before it began as he suffered a hamstring injury during pre-season.
Since then he has had further hamstring and calf problems while a potential appearance in the Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leicester was scuppered by illness.
Pellegrini, renowned for his man-management skills, concedes keeping Jovetic's spirits up has been one of his tasks.
He said: "It's very difficult to be happy when you're not playing and you have so many injuries, but he's conscious that he will (get to) be 100 per cent fit and demonstrate why he's here.
"We are trying every day to give him trust so that his bad luck will finish soon.
"It's very important that he comes back ambitious and hungry to be an important player here at Manchester City."
Midfielder Jack Rodwell, another player hampered by injuries this season, is also hoping to feature at Upton Park.
Rodwell has made just three appearances this season after more of the hamstring problems that have blighted his career.
With such a commanding first-leg advantage, City's place in the Wembley final on March 2 is all but guaranteed.
Pellegrini is expected to make a number of changes with the likes of Costel Pantilimon, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and James Milner among those who could be involved, along with youngsters Marcos Lopes and Emyr Huws.
Manuel Pellegrin looks ahead to the League Cup semi-final second leg against West Ham:
Latest in Sport
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Usain Bolt taken out by clumsy photographer on Segway during victory lap after World Championships 200m win over Justin Gatlin
Club Brugge 0 Manchester United 4 player ratings: Wayne Rooney scores hat-trick, but who impressed in Champions League tie?
Javier Hernandez: Great night for Manchester United, terrible night for Chicharito
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 3 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs