MANCHESTER, October 30- Manuel Pellegrini vows Manchester City will aim for another goal glut as the most prolific side in the Premier League set their sights on struggling Norwich City on Saturday.
The Premier League leaders suffered a rare blank last Sunday when they ground out a 0-0 draw against arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.
That was the first time City had failed to score this season and, despite picking up a useful point away to one of their title rivals, their conservative tactics drew criticism from some quarters.
However, City manager Pellegrini has made it clear he doesn’t expect a repeat against Norwich after normal service was resumed in midweek when a 5-1 win over Crystal Palace took City into the League Cup quarter-finals.
“It is the way we normally play. Maybe it was an accident on Sunday that especially in the second half we couldn’t create chances,” Pellegrini said.
“But it is not our style, so it was very important for the team to return to score goals.”
City have scored 18 goals in their last four games at Eastlands across four different competitions.
The last three of those games didn’t involve leading scorer Sergio Aguero, who remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
However, midfielders David Silva and Samir Nasri could both return and Norwich, who lost 6-2 in their last away game and have kept only one clean sheet all season, may have to face new striking prospect Kelechi Iheanacho.
The Nigerian, 19, marked his first start for City with a goal and two assists against Palace and is highly rated at the club after emerging from the Elite Development Squad.
– Stiff competition –
Iheanacho, who was signed by City after finishing as top scorer in the 2013 under-17 World Cup, faces stiff competition to gain a regular starting spot with Aguero and Ivory Coast international Wilfried Bony ahead of him.
But he hopes to learn enough from them to help him eventually make the grade.
“They talk to me and tell me to work hard every day so I am happy staying with them and training with them,” he said.
“It’s quite difficult because they are professional (senior) players who have played in a lot of competitions and a lot of games.
“I am just coming up so I need to work hard every day and hopefully I will break in.”
Norwich didn’t progress in the League Cup but as frustrating as their exit on penalties at Everton was, Alex Neil’s side will welcome the opportunity to concentrate their focus solely on the Premier League until the turn of the year.
A return of just two points from their last five league games has taken the edge off a reasonable start for the promoted side who travel to Eastlands in 16th place, two places and three points above the relegation zone.
Few people will give them a chance of getting anything from their trip to City, particularly with the memory of the 6-2 thrashing at Newcastle United still fresh in the memory.
Yet while Neil’s side have appeared vulnerable at the back, the manager believes he has sufficient strength up front despite sanctioning the loan move of Gary Hooper to Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday this week.
“I have Lewis Grabban, Cameron Jerome, Kyle and (Dieumerci) Mbokani. Week after week two were getting left out of the squad completely,” he said.
“Gary wanted to play some football and I see those other guys ahead of him in terms of the style of football I want to play.
“I felt it was necessary for him to go and get some game-time.”