Manchester City best in England, says Stuart Pearce, after Capital One Cup win
Capital One Cup finalists Manchester City are the best team in the country, says Stuart Pearce.
Last Updated: 22/01/14 10:10am
Manuel Pellegrini's men were virtually assured of a trip to Wembley after routing their semi-final opponents 6-0 in the first leg at the Etihad.
However, despite their huge aggregate advantage ahead of Tuesday's encounter, City still approached the game with intent and an Alvaro Negredo brace and a Sergio Aguero strike fired them to a 3-0 win at Upton Park.
City may sit second in the Premier League, a point behind leaders Arsenal, but in Pearce's mind there's no doubt as to who is the number one side.
"City are the elite team in the country at the moment," the former City boss told Sky Sports.
"They have a hell of a squad, they've got their tails up and they've got a lot of players in their squad who know what it's like to win. They're the team to beat between now and the end of the season.
"Tonight's win was comprehensive and the club are going from strength to strength.
"They're into another cup final and have another opportunity to bring a trophy to Manchester City. In my six years there trophies were very scarce, so they have to enjoy it and not belittle it."
Tony Cottee was equally impressed with the visitors, who have now racked up 106 goals in 35 games this season in all competitions.
Star strikers Aguero and Negredo have netted 25 of those goals in the 12 games they've started together, but, as well as the household names, City also have a wealth of talent in reserve, such as Tuesday's Man of the Match, 18-year-old Marcos Lopes.
The tricky midfielder, who teed up Negredo's opener and played a part in Aguero's goal, also earned plaudits from former West Ham ace Cottee.
"In modern times we haven't seen anything like it," he said.
"I know we get the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain, but Manchester City have been fantastic this year.
"It helps when you've got two of the best players in the world at the moment in Aguero and Negredo up front. Negredo in terms of his finishing is right up with the best of them, while Edin Dzeko's also been amazing.
"Can they play them all in the same team? What a fantastic problem for the Man City manager.
"Then there's Lopes who looks like a top talent.
"He's got a low centre of gravity, he gets on the ball, he runs at players and I love seeing midfield players, when they get it, trying to make things happen. He worked extremely hard.
"It's difficult to get the chance but when you get out there you're playing with such good players you can go out there and enjoy yourself. If you're good enough you raise your game to play with those players and he was excellent tonight, he really was."
However, Cottee's former side have plenty of issues to address, according to the ex-striker.
West Ham currently lie third from bottom and with a trip to title-chasing Chelsea this weekend Sam Allardyce's men may find themselves in deeper trouble after their Stamford Bridge visit.
While Cottee was pleased to see the hosts put on an improved performance on Tuesday compared to their first-leg efforts, he says the club desperately need to invest in new players during the January transfer window ahead of a run of February fixtures against Swansea, Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton.
"West Ham showed pride," said Cottee.
"Obviously, to lose 3-0 at home is disappointing, albeit against a very good Man City team, but there was more togetherness, more fighting spirit and they tried to win the game.
"They didn't do themselves any favours by conceding after three minutes but they never threw the towel in. In the first leg you felt a white flag went up but there was no sign of that tonight.
"They fought until the end - but you have to say they were outclassed.
"They've got to try and get some bodies in before the window closes. They've got a very difficult game away at Chelsea next week but in the month of February they've got three out of four games at Upton Park against teams around them and they've got to try to put some results together.
"I know they've got injury problems but they have to get on with it."
See who Man City will face in the final by watching the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg between Manchester United and Sunderland live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm on Wednesday night.