Manuel Pellegrini insists Manchester City are more than a one-man team, despite again needing Sergio Aguero to dig them out of a hole in a 2-2 draw at West Ham.
Aguero grabbed an 80th-minute equaliser for his second of the game at Upton Park on Saturday while Enner Valencia also scored twice — within the first 60 seconds and then on the 56th minute — for West Ham.
Pellegrini’s side have only won one away game since September, and have not claimed successive league wins since October 17.
On Saturday, it could have been a lot worse had it not been for Aguero.
“I don’t think our team is just Sergio Aguero,” said Pellegrini. “If you see, we play 23 games, there are 11 players that play more minutes (than the Argentine).”
He did, however, insist on the importance of Argentine star Aguero now staying fit and reaching his top form.
“It’s very important for him to be 100% fit. Always when he comes back from injury, he needs two or three games to come back to his best performance.
(In recent games) he was making the movements that show us he will be there soon.
“I don’t know if he is at his best moment. I think it is the moment that Sergio normally has when 100% fit. I hope he continues like this because he is a top player.”
City did not show their best defending on Saturday.
They were caught out almost straight from kick-off, as Cheikhou Kouyate exposed the slowness of their defence to set up Valencia for the first.
Aguero equalised within seven minutes through a penalty, given away by Carl Jenkinson who was shortly afterwards taken off with an injury to give Sam Byram his debut, just days after signing from Leeds United.
West Ham were back in the lead just minutes after half-time, though, as a long Michail Antonio throw was allowed to bounce into the area for Valencia to finish.
“Of course, we were not very concentrated,” Pellegrini said of the second goal.
“Maybe a throw-in you are not thinking it could be dangerous. We knew before game he has long throw-in. Unfortunately, at that moment we had a distraction.”
Pellegrini still felt his team “deserved” more as he didn’t think goalkeeper Joe Hart was tested too much in the second half.
But West Ham manager Slaven Bilic believed his side should have won, and declared himself “disappointed…but proud” of the performance.
He also said his team feel they can finish in the top six.
“They believe. And there’s nothing wrong in it. For me it’s great if they believe. For me, part of that belief is to know what you have to do to play like this,” said Bilic whose team hit the crossbar late one.
He also said he would like to see City win the title due to the quality of their football.
“So far in the Premier League, I’ve never seen a team that is so dangerous, every time you give them a little bit (of space). For me, it would be good if they win the league.”