LONDON • Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has backed Wilfried Bony to make light of Sergio Aguero's absence after confirming that the Argentina striker will be out for four weeks.
Aguero was injured while playing in a World Cup qualifier last week and Pellegrini is mindful that the international break served only to benefit today's opponents, newly-promoted Bournemouth.
"Bournemouth have worked the last 15 days with their whole squad," said the Chilean.
"We must play with 100 per cent intensity to get the three points."
Pellegrini will also be without injured David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph today.
HOW CITY HAVE COPED WITHOUT THEIR BIG GUNS
Manchester City's star striker Sergio Aguero (right) and key playmaker David Silva are ruled out of today's clash against Watford with injuries.
Here's a look at how the club dealt with their absences in the past.
City have experienced their combined absence only five times since Aguero signed in 2011, losing twice and winning three times.
Games missed: 70
Games played: 167
• City have won 60 per cent of their matches without the Spain international, compared to 68 per cent with him in the side.
• City score fewer goals in his absence too - an average of 1.8 a game. In contrast, City register an average of 2.3 goals when he plays.
Games missed: 32
Games played: 128
• City's win rate without the Argentina international is 65.6 per cent, compared to 68 per cent when he is in the team.
• City recorded an average of 2.1 goals per game without the league's top goalscorer in 2014-15, while they score an average of 2.3 goals when he is on the pitch.
"Sergio Aguero has a muscle injury - it's an important injury so I don't think he will be back before one month," the Chilean told a press conference yesterday.
"I always trust Wilfried. He's a very good player. He's had very bad luck here. He arrived here in January, he went to the African Cup and then he had problems with his knee. Last season, he couldn't demonstrate what he can do but now he has the responsibility."
Bony, a £28 million (S$59.6 million) signing, has made just two Premier League starts this season.
He has also made four substitute appearances and is still looking for his first league goal this term.
Aguero scored five against Newcastle in City's last league game, and they tend to score fewer goals and win fewer games without him and Silva. But Bournemouth defender Sylvain Distin, who spent five years at City, knows that his former club have strength in depth.
"You can look at it thinking it's going to be easier, but the truth is, it won't be," he told Sky Sports News HQ. "They've got a really good bench, and they've got players not even on the bench who are international players. No matter what, it's going to be a tough game, and if we start believing without those two it should be a comfortable afternoon, we'll get that very wrong."
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has not done much wrong since he arrived at the south coast club. He has just been rewarded with a new contract that will take him through to 2020.
He has received several plaudits, including being named the Football League manager of the decade and League Managers' Association manager of the year last season.
MANCHESTER CITY V BOURNEMOUTH
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