Football

CITY BOSS WANTS FOUR FIT AND FIRING STRIKERS

The return to form of Stevan Jovetic has brought cheer to Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini who insists he needs four fully-fit strikers in order for his side to defend their Premier League title.

Jovetic, the forgotten forward of last season's title-winning campaign after being dogged by injury, scored twice in the 3-1 victory over Liverpool yesterday morning.

Substitute Sergio Aguero, still making his way back to full fitness after his World Cup exertions after injury problems of his own late last season, added the third before Pablo Zabaleta's late own goal.

Pellegrini (above) currently has to choose two from three - Edin Dzeko is his other fit striker with Alvaro Negredo still out injured with a broken metatarsal - but the Chilean believes he needs everyone at his disposal.

"We need four strikers. At this moment Stevan is doing very well but you cannot forget Negredo is injured," he said.

"Dzeko and Jovetic and Aguero are working well. It is important that they continue playing the way they did.

"Kun Aguero is a very special player for us and it was good that the first ball he touched was a goal. That was not luck.

"He is working very hard during the week and this is an important reward."

With Jovetic, 24, hitting some form, Pellegrini was asked who was the ideal foil for the Montenegrin.

"That is difficult to answer this at the moment but a player like Jovetic can play with any top player," he added.

"He was very unlucky last season but we never had any doubt about this quality.

"To start the new season in this way after an unlucky season is good but I don't think it is like a new signing."

Injury and illness had restricted Jovetic to only three goals from 11 league appearances last season, but he appears rejuvenated after a successful pre-season.

Pellegrini said:"He was very unlucky last season, but we never had any doubt about his quality."

"I'm very happy for him, because after such an unlucky season, he deserves to start this season the way he's playing. Not only for his goals. Stevan was working the whole game, without the ball also."

- PA Sport/AFP.