Manuel Pellegrini has revealed David Silva is playing through pain to inspire Manchester City’s Premier League title challenge.
The Spanish midfielder again shone in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Southampton which kept up the pressure on rivals Liverpool and Chelsea at the top.
And with City heading to Anfield this Sunday to take on the Reds, Pellegrini is hoping Silva will continue his imperious form.
“It is very important at the end of the season to have high individual performances and he is one of our players who is in a very good moment,” said the City boss.
“He is playing very, very well. It is with double merit because he is playing with his ankle he hurt during the week. It’s just a kick. I hope he will be fit for the rest of the season.
“Because he played the last two games without a problem, now we have a whole week before we play against Liverpool, so I don’t think he will have any problems.”
With Liverpool having scored 90 league goals compared to City’s 84, Pellegrini is prepared for a battle of the entertainers, but says his men want to show their strengths rather than worry about Luis Suarez and Co.
“I don’t know if it’s the attitude,” he added. “But we tried from the beginning of the season to play attractive football and be an offensive and creative team.
“I think the best way to win games is to score goals. I think, maybe I am wrong, but I always think in the same way as a manager that if you play to draw you will lose. So we are going to play to win. We are not going to play against Liverpool thinking we must draw. We don’t know how to play in that way.
“Maybe I also am wrong, but I prefer important teams, big teams, than those who just want to win 1-0 and give all the possession of the ball to the other team, and score one goal and always defend. That’s why I think Liverpool have a lot of merits in the year they are doing so far, because they are an attractive team and they always score.”
City last failed to score in the league two months ago in a goalless draw at Norwich and powered past a Southampton side hurt by a controversial Samir Nasri goal – when Silva was offside in the buildup – and the serious knee injury to 17-goal top scorer Jay Rodriguez that looks set to rule him out of the World Cup.
Captain Adam Lallana said: “Forget the decision for the offside, forget the result, forget everything, we are just so disappointed for Jay.
“We are all absolutely devastated for him. We’ve all had a chat and let him know how sorry we are for him. There’s nothing you can say in that situation, until he gets it scanned and gets a proper diagnosis. He’s an unbelievable lad and he’s proven this season what a player he is and he got his rewards internationally.”
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his side can defeat Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 encounter.
Barcelona defeated City 2-0 when they met last month at the Etihad in the first leg of the tie, with Lionel Messi and Dani Alves both finding the back of the net.
It means that the Spanish giants are strong favourites to book themselves a quarter-final berth, however Pellegrini is confident that City can defy the odds.
“I don’t have any doubt that we can go to Barcelona and beat them in the Nou Camp and we will try to have our revenge there,” he told City’s official website.
“Of course we can do it. We will go with a lot of trust to try to do it.
“If we are on a good day, I am absolutely sure we can do it.”
Wednesday's match comes after City suffered a shock FA Cup defeat to Wigan Athletic in their quarter-final match on Saturday.
Pellegrini has an impressive record against Barcelona with former clubs, however he is not underestimating the task at hand.
“I won with Villarreal in the Nou Camp. I drew also with Malaga,” he said.
“It is a very important game for both teams.
“They have the advantage they have two goals and maybe they can work more with the tempo and the pace of the game.
“If we can score a goal early, maybe Barcelona will be a bit more nervous but if they score before they have an important advantage.
“It is difficult because it is a very good team with great players.”
Responding to questions from members of the official Sky Blue fan club in the UAE, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini said it will be a major day for everyone at Manchester City, even those watching the game in Abu Dhabi.
“A cup final is always special and this one is a chance for us to take a very positive step forward this season,” he said. “Do we talk about winning trophies all the time? No, we don’t and that is the correct way to do things.
“Manchester City is now a major club and only at the end of the season can you look at what you have done. That is the time to celebrate."
“People will keep talking about the Barcelona game, but we are still in that competition. The Capital One Cup gives us a chance to lift everyone and then we go from there and hopefully keep improving.
“And of course the League is a truly important trophy as it shows what you have achieved over the full season. Again, this cup final will help us with that part of the season.”
Pellegrini was speaking to the Sky Blues ahead of a club organised fan zone event at Zayed Sports City Stadium where City supporters will be able to watch the action live on Sunday.
The 2012 Premier League champions have been organising fan events at the stadium for several seasons in the wake of the Abu Dhabi Group's purchase of the club in 2008.
Since then Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his charges have invested vast amounts of money to make City one of the biggest teams in the world both on and off the pitch.
Unsurprisingly, the club has benefitted from its royal backing and has grown a large, loyal following in the UAE that has both led and been attributed to such community events in the region as this Sunday's fan zone.
Pellegrini acknowledged the superb support that City have enjoyed in the UAE, saying: “It was wonderful to see so many City fans on my recent trip to Abu Dhabi and they will once again be really supporting us in this Cup final I am sure.”
To find out more about how to watch the League Cup final at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, follow this link: http://www.sport360.com/article/going-out/19248/paint-town-blue-league-cup-final-city-fan-zone