City not just about Aguero: Pellegrini

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) challenging West Ham's Alex Song for the ball in the 2-2 draw. Aguero scored both goals and now has 15 goals in 22 matches this term, despite injuries limiting his appearances.
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) challenging West Ham's Alex Song for the ball in the 2-2 draw. Aguero scored both goals and now has 15 goals in 22 matches this term, despite injuries limiting his appearances.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manuel Pellegrini insists Manchester City are more than a one-man team, despite again needing Sergio Aguero to dig them out of a hole in a 2-2 Premier League draw at West Ham.

The Argentinian striker grabbed an 80th-minute equaliser for his second of the game at Upton Park on Saturday while Enner Valencia also scored twice - within the first 60 seconds and then on the 56th minute - for West Ham.

Pellegrini's side have won only one away game since September, and have not claimed successive league wins since Oct 17.

On Saturday, it could have been a lot worse had it not been for Aguero, who now has 15 goals in 22 matches this term despite injuries limiting his appearances.

"I don't think our team is just Sergio Aguero," said Pellegrini. "If you see, we play 23 games, there are 11 players that play more minutes (than the Argentinian)."

He did, however, insist on the importance of Aguero now staying fit and reaching his top form.

"(In recent games) he was making the movements that show us he will be there soon," added the Chilean. "I don't know if he is at his best moment. I think it is the moment that Sergio normally has when 100 per cent fit. I hope he continues like this because he is a top player."

City did not show their best defending on Saturday. They were caught out almost straight from kick-off, as Cheikhou Kouyate exposed their slow defence to set up Valencia for the first.

Aguero equalised within seven minutes through a penalty, given away by Carl Jenkinson, who was taken off shortly afterwards with an injury to give Sam Byram his debut, just days after signing from Leeds United.

West Ham were back in the lead just minutes after half-time, though, as a long Michail Antonio throw was allowed to bounce into the area for Valencia to finish.

"We were not very concentrated," Pellegrini said of the second goal. "Maybe a throw-in you are not thinking it could be dangerous. We knew before the game he has a long throw-in. Unfortunately, at that moment we were distracted."

The City manager still felt his team "deserved" more as he did not think goalkeeper Joe Hart was tested too much in the second half.

But West Ham manager Slaven Bilic believed his side should have won and declared himself "disappointed... but proud" of the performance. He also said his team feel they can finish in the top six.

"They believe. And there's nothing wrong in it. For me, it's great if they believe. For me, part of that belief is to know what you have to do to play like this," said Bilic, whose team hit the crossbar in the last piece of action in the game.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2016, with the headline 'City not just about Aguero: Pellegrini'. Print Edition | Subscribe