Manuel Pellegrini is confident Sergio Aguero will fire his side to success this year if he manages to stay injury free.
Pellegrini’s team will have to overcome a highly-motivated Everton tonight to reach the Capital One Cup final. City host the Toffees in the second leg of their semi-final at the Etihad Stadium tonight, a match that is also the third meeting between the two clubs in three weeks.
Aguero missed 11 games during a 14-game spell through the autumn with hamstring and heel problems but has now scored five in City’s last four matches.
Pellegrini said: “It’s very important for our squad. If Sergio continues scoring two goals every game, it will be easy to finish the season.
“I hope he will continue playing the same way. Playing the way we do, it will be easy for him to continue scoring.”
With City having lost the first leg and been held to a goalless draw by Roberto Martinez’s men in the Premier League, the task is a testing one.
Pellegrini said: “It is the third time we are going to play against Everton in a month, so we know all about their team. We know the way they play and their important players.
“But our performance is more important in trying to decide this semi-final at home.
“It is as important for us as it is them, it is important to play in the final at Wembley.
“Maybe Everton, who have not been in a final in many years, will be more motivated but I am sure our team will do all they can to play the final.
“One of the most important things is to reflect desire, a desire to play another final at Wembley.”
City must chase the tie, with a 1-0 victory after 90 minutes enough to secure extra time, but Pellegrini will not let the aggregate score alter his game plan.
The Chilean said: “We are not going to change our style of play. We need to win here. We will try to score from the beginning.”
Pellegrini also concedes playmaker David Silva has not been 100% fit lately but is confident the Spaniard will soon return to top form.
Silva has played 13 games since returning from a month-long lay-off with an ankle injury in November but has not yet rediscovered his best.
Pellegrini has now revealed the 30-year-old has also been hampered by another problem in recent weeks, providing further reason why he was rested for the FA Cup third-round win at Norwich on January 9.
Pellegrini said: “David has had different injuries during the season, that’s why I didn’t want him to play two games that were very near (together).
“It was not only the ankle. He started with that and one or two weeks before the game against Everton he had a muscle injury that disturbed him a lot.
“But now he is feeling better so I hope he will finish the season in his best performance.
“Every day he is improving. Maybe he’s not 100 per cent but I hope that he will return soon to be absolutely fit.”
Pellegrini dismissed reports influential captain Vincent Kompany could be out for a further six weeks with a calf problem. He said: “I don’t think so. I think Vincent will return in a couple of weeks.”
Pellegrini has confirmed Willy Caballero will take over from number one Joe Hart in goal, as he has for all domestic cup matches this season.
Meanwhile Everton manager Roberto Martinez is confident his young team have the mental fortitude to see off City. And Martinez does not feel some of the displays this season, particularly their habit of conceding added-time goals, warrants input from a sports psychologist.
“You want every player to show the mentality of being ready and that the team can rely on that individual and every player has to have that mentality,” he said.
“Disappointments are painful at the moment because results have not been fair in reflecting the efforts and football we have played.
“Psychologically you have to go through experiences in order to create that resilience to create that winning mentality.
“When things are going well they (younger players) will get a lot of attention, but in the same way when results are not going well they have to get used to that scrutiny.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved