Away win will spur City drive

Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi and Yaya Toure celebrating after the 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road, their first away win in the Premier League since Sept 12. They will want a similar result next at Everton in the League Cup.
Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi and Yaya Toure celebrating after the 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road, their first away win in the Premier League since Sept 12. They will want a similar result next at Everton in the League Cup. PHOTO: REUTERS

Toure, Aguero score as Pellegrini confident of further boost when injured players return

LONDON • Manuel Pellegrini sent a warning out to the Premier League that Manchester City are ready to hit top gear in the title race after ending their away-day misery at Watford.

Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero earned a 2-1 comeback win on Saturday as City won on the road for the first time since Sept 12.

Despite their travel sickness, Pellegrini's side remain just three points off leaders Arsenal. And the City manager said: "We are returning to our form by recovering important players and once they are 100 per cent fit the team will improve every game.

"When you win a game like we did here there is a lot of trust in the team. We never gave up. It was important to win after six games with the way we had been playing before. I've always said this team has character and will never give up.

PROSPECTS BOOSTED

We are returning to our form by recovering important players and once they are 100 per cent fit the team will improve every game. When you win a game like we did here there is a lot of trust in the team. We never gave up.

MANUEL PELLEGRINI

"It was a tough game against a good team that is in a good moment. We can move on from here."

Aguero has been struggling with injuries all season but he took his tally to double figures with his late winner.

The Argentina star, who hit 26 league goals last season, will be a key player with City vying on four fronts.

Pellegrini is taking it game by game - starting with Wednesday's League Cup semi-final first-leg tie at Everton.

Said the Chilean: "He is a big player for us. He has just come back so he will improve with games. I'm so happy to be in all competitions despite all the injuries we've had."

Goalkeeper Joe Hart believes that City, who have 39 points, one adrift of second-placed Leicester, can wrest the title back from struggling Chelsea.

"We believe it could be our year and that's what we want to make it happen," he said. "This win is a big moment for us."

Watford were on course for victory after Aleksandar Kolarov headed Ben Watson's corner into his own net.

In need of an equaliser, Pellegrini replaced defender Eliaquim Mangala with striker Wilfried Bony in the 75th minute.

The match turned on its head seven minutes later as Toure volleyed home, directing Kolarov's corner into the top corner, before Aguero headed in a Bacary Sagna cross.

It was the second late defeat to hit Watford at home and manager Quique Flores said: "It's impossible to explain how we lost this match.

"I'm so sorry, so sorry, the players were amazing, so sorry for the fans. We want to win, for us it's not enough to be in the middle of the Premier League, we have a lot of reasons to be happy, but today we are sad because we want a lot more."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2016, with the headline 'AWAY WIN WILL SPUR CITY DRIVE'. Print Edition | Subscribe