How would Liverpool do without Luis Suarez, asks Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini has implied that Liverpool and Chelsea would have struggled to challenge for the title which Manchester City are on the brink of clinching, if they had been without Luis Suarez or Eden Hazard as often as he has lost Sergio Aguero to injury this season.
The Chilean manager said that his own ability to adapt after being hit by persistent injuries to his core players was "one of my best achievements in this season".
Pellegrini has Aguero fit again to face West Ham on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium but Aguero, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Yaya Touré have played only 216 minutes of football together this season and started only six games. Aguero has started 19 league games.
"I don't want to compare other teams but… Kun Aguero he missed 14 or 15 games in the Premier League," Pellegrini said. "You take Suarez out for 15 games for Liverpool or Hazard from Chelsea or [Santi] Cazorla from Arsenal maybe...
"But I think all the teams have injured players during the year. You cannot think what will happen if that player was in the squad. Other players played very well and that's why I'm happy with the squad this year."
Pellegrini resolutely refused to reflect on the Premier League season, declaring seven times that he would discuss specific issues relating to the season after Sunday's game. He would be pushed only as far as to say that City had played the best football. "I think so yes," he declared, insisting that City's failure to pass Uefa's Financial Fair Play test and allegations they had bought the title were "for another day".
David Silva has revealed that City felt they had blown the title when they drew with Sunderland 24 days ago, and had doubts as Liverpool laid siege to their goal late on at Anfield three weeks ago.
"I suppose you'd have to say [we doubted we'd win it in] the last few minutes against Liverpool," Silva said. "They got the winner from an error. So you start to doubt it. But you learn that it's such a competitive league, you just have to keep going."
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli scored as many goals for AC Milan on second debut as he did for Liverpool in the Premier League last season
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager has four Guinness World records hanging in his office
Sir Alex Ferguson: 'I place discipline above all else and it might have cost us several titles...' but Manchester United boss wouldn't change it
Manchester United will pay Monaco £7.2m extra if Anthony Martial scores 25 goals in four years as deal could rise to incredible £58m
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees