Guardi­ola: City ready to play on without Aguero

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola was re­laxed about the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing star for­ward Ser­gio Aguero to sus­pen­sion af­ter tele­vi­sion footage ap­peared to show him el­bow­ing West Ham United’s Win­ston Reid on Au­gust 28.

Aguero could face ret­ro­spec­tive ac­tion by the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, in­clud­ing sus­pen­sion, if the in­ci­dent dur­ing City’s 3-1 win is judged to have been de­lib­er­ate.

That would rule him out of City’s next game, the ea­gerly-awaited derby match at Manch­ester United’s at Old Traf­ford home field on Septem­ber 10.

“I didn’t see it,” said Guardi­ola of the in­ci­dent at East­lands fol­low­ing a win that left City top of the ta­ble on goal dif­fer­ence.

“I am new here so I don’t know how it works,” the Spa­niard added. “I didn’t see so I can­not com­ment. Hope­fully noth­ing hap­pens. If it hap­pens, we ac­cept and adapt. If we lose him, we lose him. We are go­ing to play with 11.”

Two goals from Ra­heem Ster­ling and one from Fer­nand­inho clinched a fifth win in as many games un­der Guardi­ola’s man­age­ment, al­though a header from Michail An­to­nio – called up into the Eng­land squad for the first time on Au­gust 28 – brought West Ham back to 2-1 and pro­vided City with some anx­ious mo­ments.

How­ever, for all the changes former Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich boss Guardi­ola has made at his new club in fewer than two months, the form of Ster­ling has been most star­tling change fol­low­ing a dif­fi­cult de­but sea­son with the club and a ter­ri­ble Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship cam­paign with Eng­land in France.

“What have I done to him? Noth­ing,” said Guardi­ola. “I have tried to do the best for all the play­ers.

“Raz [Ster­ling] has scored two goals, was good, but the games be­fore was more bril­liant than to­day [Aug­sut 28].

“To­day in the first half he scored a goal but didn’t win too many de­fen­sive du­els. Sec­ond half he was bet­ter, but of course we are so pleased.

The game also of­fered a rare chance for Samir Nasri, who ap­peared to be sur­plus to re­quire­ments un­der City’s new man­age­ment, to come on as a sub­sti­tute and make an im­pact against West Ham.

“Yeah, it de­pends on the player but he can play,” said Guardi­ola when asked if the French­man still had a fu­ture at the club.

Should City be without Aguero for the derby game, there is con­sid­er­able con­so­la­tion in the fact that they will have three big pre-sea­son sign­ings – Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gun­do­gan and goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo – avail­able for se­lec­tion in their first meet­ing of the sea­son with Jose Mour­inho’s club.

“Of course we can do bet­ter,” said Guardi­ola. “No doubt about that. But we are just one and a half, two months here.

“We cre­ated many chances so we de­served to win clearly with more goals. The per­for­mance is good. We need Ilkay and Sane and all the guys be­cause the guys who play to­day can­not play every three days.”

West Ham man­ager Slaven Bilic had no com­plaints about Aguero’s al­leged el­bow on Reid, say­ing he did not see the in­ci­dent, and with so many in­jured play­ers un­avail­able at East­lands, took some con­so­la­tion from the per­for­mance.

“With so many play­ers we are miss­ing, you have to praise the team,” he said.

“Es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half. We can’t play much bet­ter than that when you’re miss­ing six, seven, eight top play­ers and you’re play­ing against them [City].” –

Photo: AFP

Manch­ester City striker Ser­gio Aguero (front) vies with West Ham United de­fender James Collins dur­ing a match at Eti­had Sta­dium on Au­gust 28. City won, 3-1, but Aguero was cited for an al­leged el­bow­ing.

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