Manuel Pellegrini hailed the return of David Silva to Manchester City’s starting line-up following their 4-1 win over Hull City.
The Spain international made his first start since the 6-1 thumping of Newcastle United in October in Tuesday’s League Cup quarter-final and was given the captain’s armband for the win over Steve Bruce’s side.
Silva delivered an impressive performance as Wilfried Bony, Kelechi Iheanacho and a Kevin De Bruyne double sealed City’s progress, and his manager believes he embodies the style with which he wants his side to play.
“It’s very important [to have him back] because it’s not easy to replace David, he gives a style of play that we like to play. Of course the team played better with him,” Pellegrini said.
“It was a very good game, because we didn’t concede any chances in the whole game, they scored when it was already 4-0.
“The second goal came a bit late but it’s great to be in the semi-final.
“I’m very happy for De Bruyne also, for Kelechi, for Bony after a long injury. Everything was very good except for a fifth yellow card for [Eliaquim] Mangala [who now faces a one-game suspension].”
Pellegrini believes his side can be proud of their season so far, with Champions League progress secured and a return to the top of the Premier League over the weekend.
“To have qualified for the Champions League next stage, to be in the semi-final, top of the league, with so many injured players is great,” he said.
“Now we have to play the semi-final. I always say if you are a big team you must try to win every competition you’re in.
“The final is in Wembley, it’s always a special game. It was very beautiful to win it. [in 2014].”
Pellegrini added that Sergio Aguero will face further fitness tests ahead of the weekend trip to Stoke City as he still has “a lot of pain” in his heel.