Pellegrini backs Yaya and defends Sterling
Manuel Pellegrini has backed Yaya Toure to return to his best after Manchester City's cruise at West Brom.
The midfielder scored a blistering second goal after David Silva had flicked in Toure's shot for the first, with Vincent Kompany's header sealing a comfortable 3-0 win for City.
New £49m forward Raheem Sterling was overshadowed by City's old guard with Silva and Toure at the heart of City's best efforts.
Silva deflected in Toure's shot - which also got a touch off a defender - for the opening goal with the visitors' dressing room giving the Spain star the credit.
And Pellegrini reckons, after a stuttering season last year, Ivory Coast star Toure will shine in the Premier League again.
He said: "I always said last season it was a strange season for Yaya, he started with a lot of problems, the death of his brother, his agents. I think he was not focused on what he had to do last year.
"We spoke before the start of the season and I am very sure we will see the Yaya from two years ago. He is a very important player for us.
"I don't think Yaya deserved the amount of criticism he received last season. It was not his best season but he did not play so, so bad like everyone said.
"He is an important player for us. It is very difficult for a player when you have so many problems."
Sterling, replaced by Samir Nasri in the 74th minute, should have marked his debut with a goal but was thwarted by Boaz Myhill when put clean through by Fernandinho.
Pellegrini insisted he was happy with the 20-year-old's contribution.
He said: "I'm not disappointed because Raheem played 74 minutes very well. It is not easy for him to play a new style with new teammates, he worked a lot and he had two clear chances.
"If he continues to play like this I am sure he will be the player we bought."