Thursday 09 January 2014
Manuel Pellegrini had praise for Alvaro Negredo after the Manchester City striker hit a hat-trick as West Ham United were beaten 6-0 in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final.
The Spain striker struck twice in the first half at the Etihad Stadium, with Yaya Toure adding another, to give City a 3-0 lead at the break. Negredo completed his hat-trick soon after the interval and a further two goals were added by his strike partner Edin Dzeko.
"Playing better than the way Negredo did is not easy"
"In football it is never finished but of course this is an important step towards playing the final at Wembley,” Pellegrini, the City manager, said. "We are very near the first final, but it is very important to continue in all the competitions playing the way we did today, and playing the way we did today is more easy if you want to win something."
Negredo's has scored 18 goals this season, of which eight have come in the Barclays Premier League, after joining from Sevilla in the summer and has eased the absence through injury of the club’s leading scorer in the league, Sergio Aguero.
"Playing better than the way he did is not easy,” Pellegrini said. "He really played a complete game, not only because he scored three goals but because of his link with the midfielders.
"For me, it's not a surprise because I know the way he played in Spain for a lot of years and it's also important for Alvaro and Edin Dzeko to play well together, because maybe in other games they have not played as well as they used to."
West Ham were the latest London side to concede six goals at the Etihad Stadium this season, after Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League. For the Hammers manager Sam Allardyce, coming after a 5-0 defeat in the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest at the weekend, the focus is stopping the rot away to Cardiff City on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League, lifting his team out of the relegation zone and returning injured players to fitness.
"We have got to not lose confidence in our own ability"
"We are not the first team to get beaten here by many, many goals and we won't be the last having seen Manchester City through this season,” Allardyce said. "But you cannot keep losing football matches, that is for sure, as a manager.
"We have to get those [injured] players back as quick as we can and we have got to not lose confidence in our own ability and get out of this hole we are in at the moment
"We have to get our heads up and our shoulders back and our chest out, and start believing that we are going to do better - starting with Cardiff."
Manchester City (Negredo 3, Toure, Dzeko 2) 6-0 West Ham
Second legs to take place week commencing 20 January