Manuel Pellegrini hailed the return to form of Sergio Aguero as the catalyst to fire Manchester City’s pursuit of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
The Argentine striker was on target twice as City won at Stoke for the first time in 15 years with further goals from James Milner and Samir Nasri.
Though Chelsea maintained their seven-point advantage with a late goal against Everton, Pellegrini was delighted to see his team back among the goals after a run of just one win in six games.
“We hope this is a turning point. We needed the victory because the last four games we didn’t do it. This (Stoke) is a very tough team. We scored only one goal in last three games against Stoke so to score four is important for the team and hopefully we can continue.”
Aguero opened the scoring against the run of play, firing past Asmir Begoivc after collecting Aleksandar Kolarov’s punted clearance.
Milner restored City’s lead after Peter Crouch’s headed equaliser, before Aguero from the spot and Nasri with a rasping right-footer equalled City’s best league result of the season.
Though Aguero was substituted after complaining of a tight hamstring, Pellegrini hoped he would be fit to face Newcastle in City’s next game a week on Saturday.
MATCH REPORT: Stoke 1 Manchester City 4 - match report
“It was important for Sergio to score. And it’s important for him to be fit. If he can play two or three months in a row you can see what a good player he is. We hope he continues to play from now until the end of season because we know what he can do.”
Pellegrini was full of praise, too, for Milner, restating his desire that the England midfielder commits to the club by signing the new contract on offer when his present deal ends in the summer.
“Milner’s was a beautiful goal. (The passing) between (David) Silva and Nasri and the finish was great. It was important for James to score but more important is the way he works for 90 minutes. He will always be an important player for us. The group want Milner to stay. Milner has to decide what he wants to do.”
Though Stoke manager Mark Hughes rued the failure of referee Lee Mason to award an early penalty when Milner appeared to handle in the box, he accepted the better team won.
“We should have been in the ascendancy at half time. City are clearly a very good team, but a clear penalty wasn’t given, which seems to be happening a lot at the moment.
“Credit to City, in the second half they came out a lot sharper. We allowed them clear crosses into the box and then we were chasing the game.
“In the first half I was more than happy with what we produced but in the second City were just too good and we weren’t able to stop them taking the game away from us.”Reuse content