Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has sung the praises of Raheem Sterling, who scored a hat-trick for his side against Bournemouth yesterday.
The Premier League title hopefuls were without key attacking duo Sergio Aguero and David Silva but still walloped the newly promoted side 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
The former Liverpool attacker was the chief protagonist in the hosts’ commanding victory, netting a hat-trick in a devastating attacking partnership with Wilfried Bony.
Pellegrini was quick to praise Sterling after the game, claiming that his combination with the powerful Ivorian was something of note.
“I am happy because we changed (Sterling’s) position and played him in the middle, with Bony in front of him,” the Chilean told BBC Sport.
“We felt it was better for him to be near Bony and also near the box. With his movement we thought Raheem could be dangerous [in the middle] and fortunately he was, he scored three goals. He also missed three or four goals but he did very well.
“When we bought Raheem in the summer I said we are buying a 20-year-old who is very young and needs to improve. He is not a striker but he can improve his finishing and, today, he did.”
Sterling has been operating in a wide role on the left of City’s attack since moving to Manchester in the summer, but clearly relished the chance to play centrally in Silva’s absence yesterday.
The versatile forward has added real firepower to Pellegrini’s options in the final third and will have high hopes of winning silverware with City this season.