Manuel Pellegrini thinks there is more to come from Raheem Sterling following his first professional hat-trick in Manchester City’s 5-1 win over AFC Bournemouth.
The Premier League leaders were without top-scorer Sergio Aguero due to hamstring injury, but the England international scored three first-half goals in his absence.
Pellegrini feels that Saturday’s change in system helped Sterling and that he will go on to establish himself as a more regular goalscorer.
“I think it was important for Raheem to score three goals,” the Chilean said.
“He must improve his finishing – he did that today, he’s young and will continue to get better.
“I don’t think he’s a striker like Kun [Aguero] or [Wilfried] Bony but this year, and I said it when he arrived, I am sure he will score more goals than he did at Liverpool.
“It was important for him and the team to change his position today. I thought that near Bony he could have a lot of space.
“Kevin [De Bruyne] did very well, as he did against Newcastle, and I think the system allowed Raheem to score more goals.”
Yaya Toure was withdrawn at half-time in Saturday’s game, but Pellerini insisted the decision was solely focused on helping the Ivorian recover from injury, rather than keeping him fresh for Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Sevilla.
“It was not thinking about Sevilla, it was thinking about Yaya,” Pellegrini added.
“He just played 45 minutes in the Champions League [against Borussia Monchengladbach] before he got in an injury.
“In the first 10 days of the international break he did nothing, so I thought 45 minutes was enough.
“It was not an important injury but one which prevented him from playing games.”