Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City boast the Premier League's best strikeforce. The manager has added new signings Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo to the ranks that already included Sergio Agüero and Edin Dzeko.
Speaking after City beat South China 1-0 at the Hong Kong Stadium to reach Saturday's Asia Trophy final against Sunderland, Pellegrini was asked if his squad would have the most potent forwards in next season's Premier League. "I think so, yes, very strong. That's correct," he said. "I think we have very good strikers with Dzeko as well. They can play together or we can play one of them with Jovetic or Agüero. We have four very good strikers and that's very necessary if we want to play in the Premier League and Champions League as a competitive team."
Regarding Negredo, who signed last week for £20.6m from Sevilla and made his first appearance in a City shirt as a second-half substitute, Pellegrini said: "I know Negredo very well from the Spanish league, so it was not a surprise for me the way he played."
The 27-year-old might have scored had James Milner found him and he also impressed with a deft pass that created a chance for Dzeko, whose first-half header proved the winner.
While Jovetic, a £22m signing from Fiorentina, and Agüero did not feature, Pellegrini refused to be drawn on José Mourinho's suggestion that given City's summer spend of £89m – Jesús Navas and Fernandinho have also been recruited – they are under more pressure to win the title than Chelsea. "I don't have an opinion about what Mourinho says," the Chilean said, though he did accept that there is an extreme focus on the club. "I think that a big club like Manchester City always has a lot of pressure. It's very important to play under pressure. The players play better under pressure so we're not scared by that."
Of the start to the campaign, which is on 19 August when Newcastle United visit, Pellegrini said: "We must be ready from the start of the first match against Newcastle and the team must play as we want. We must work very hard but I'm sure that we arrive at the first match the way I want."
He was pleased with the win after City lost their opening two pre-season games in South Africa. "We didn't play against South China, we played against us. We improved on what we did in the matches in South Africa. If we drew or lost it wasn't important."
Navas is one of a few players the 59-year-old is considering introducing on Saturday. "We'll see in the next few days with [David] Silva, Agüero and Jovetic as well. Four important players who didn't play [against South China]. Maybe two or three could play on Saturday."
Dzeko, who appears to have a future at the club, stated he would relish playing alongside Negredo. "Why not? But it's not my decision, it's the manager's decision but we have now four top strikers and all of us want to play. It's easier for the striker when you've got players like that around you," he said.