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With his team active on four fronts as the season enters the business end, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini adopted a positive attitude on 22 January ahead of his side's upcoming clash with West Ham United, confident that his side's free-flowing attacking soccer will reap the rewards come the end of the campaign.
Pellegrini's side have scored six more goals than any other team in this year's campaign, and with the formidable attacking quartet of Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling all fit and firing at the same time, the Chilean is hopeful of yet more goals in the coming games.
On 23 January, City travel to London to face West Ham, who beat them 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season. Pellegrini says his side should have won that day and is hoping for a better result come Saturday evening.
"I think we have a difficult game [against West Ham] because we are going to play with a very good team that beat us here at home at the beginning of the season in a match where I think that we had 20 chances to score but we didn't do it. But I hope that now, as always, we are going to go for the three points, to be a team that demonstrates why we are involved for the fight for the title and for that we need the personality to go there and play well," said the Chilean.
If City, currently in third place, are going to climb the Premier League table and catch leaders Arsenal then they will have to improve their away form. While they have scored 33 goals and won nine of their 12 league games at home, City have struggled on the road, winning only four and scoring 10 goals in 10 games. However, in their last away league match against Watford, City came from a goal down to win 2-1 and Pellegrini is hoping for a similar level of character to be on show this weekend.
"If you create chances and score four goals, like we did last time [against Crystal Palace], then of course I am very happy as it is the way we want to play. It is the best way, I think, for this team to win titles so I hope that I will continue scoring goals and we are the team that has so far scored the most goals. But in some games, of course especially playing away, we couldn't score. So I hope that tomorrow we are going to return as we did the last time we played away against Watford," said Pellegrini.
One further reason for Pellegrini's optimism is the return to fitness of star striker Aguero, whose two goals against Palace cemented his return to the City side from injury.
When Aguero is fit, City look almost unbeatable, but it has been a struggle to keep the diminutive striker injury-free for a long run of games. Despite only starting 14 league games this season, Aguero has still scored 10 goals and Pellegrini is hopeful the Argentine can continue his run in the side.
"I think for every player that it is very important to be fit every week, to be able to play every game. Maybe it is impossible to play all the games, but it is very important not to stop working for 15-20 days because then it is very difficult to be able to recover their best fitness. So, I hope that Kun [Aguero] will continue in the same way he is doing in the last game and, without injuries, in every game he is going to have better pace," said Pellegrini.