Pellegrini: We are the strongest team

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes he has the strongest team in the Premier League when all of his players are fit and firing on all cylinders.

The Citizens boss has an almost fully-fit squad to choose from ahead of Saturday's clash with stragglers Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium, with injured midfielder Samir Nasri the only absentee.

Skipper Vincent Kompany is back in contention following a lengthy lay-off, while striker Sergio Aguero has been eased back into action recently after recovering from a knee injury.

Added to that, full-back Pablo Zabaleta and midfielder Fernando are also available for selection against the Black Cats.

"We are in all the competitions and we did that without a lot of important players," Pellegrini told reporters.

"But, of course, with all the players fit and playing every game, we are the strongest team."

Pellegrini was asked for his opinion on suggestions that City have struggled defensively in the absence of Kompany, and made it clear that he felt his players had covered for the Belgian in a competent manner.

"It seems that we have a crisis but we don't have a crisis," he added. "Vincent is the captain of the team – you cannot be the captain of an important team if you are not an important player.

"We need Vincent, but this team doesn't depend on one player.

"Vincent has had a long recovery. We hope that he will not have more problems in the future.

"It is very difficult to know if he will have them or not, but we are going to be optimistic and hope we can have the captain for the rest of the season."