Published On: Sat, Sep 23rd, 2017

Man City News: Pep Guardiola praises Sergio Aguero for adopting total foootball philosophy


Aguero needs a hat-trick against basement club Crystal Palace today to become Manchester City’s all-time record goal scorer but Guardiola says he has developed into much more of an all-round player.

Most managers – certainly Roy Hodgson at the moment – would be perfectly happy with a striker who just comes to life in the opposition penalty area and scores goals. But not purist Guardiola.

There was tension between the ultra-demanding City manager and the Argentina striker last season because Guardiola wanted him to be more involved in the build-up play.

But as Aguero (175 goals) closes in on Eric Brook’s 68-year record of 177, Guardiola is delighted with the way the former Independiente and Atletico Madrid star’s game has evolved.

“He has always had the character to score goals,” said Guardiola. “His mother and father gave him that talent. He had it before in Argentina and Spain. He will die scoring goals, there is no doubt about that.

“When I arrived I tried to convince him not just to be a striker who made a connection in the box but to help win the ball back as quickly as possible, to attack as quickly as possible and be involved in the process to play football.

“I like strikers who play in the process as well as scoring goals, just as I like my central defenders to be involved in the play and not just defend.

“He’ll take that record – that is going to happen sooner or later. And it will be good if it happens at home. He has to be proud and Manchester City have to be proud. Being a long time in one place and breaking the record is so fantastic. But I’ll try to help him score even more goals.”

Considering his record – one goal today will bring up his 300th in his club career – it is a major surprise that Aguero has never been voted into the PFA team of the year or won any of the main individual awards. He did not even make the shortlist for the Fifpro awards this week.

But Guardiola says the respect of his team-mates and success at club level are far more important.

“The best present is when you have the feeling that your team-mates love you and you feel you have helped them,” said Guardiola. “Recognition from the media or awards, that’s ok for 10 minutes, then it disappears.”

Today’s game is regarded as one of the biggest home “bankers” in Premier League history with free-scoring City priced at 15-2 ON to pile on the misery for Palace, who are pointless and goalless after five games.

But despite facing the nightmare scenario prospect of losing their first eight games – they follow today’s fixture at the Etihad with clashes against Manchester United and Chelsea – Palace manager Hodgson is convinced the Eagles can still avoid relegation.

“I refused to believe we are doomed,” said Hodgson, recalling how nine years ago when he was at Fulham, he found himself in a similar situation and clear favourites to be relegated only to stay up.

“We were written off week after week, and I was on the ropes for the last 13 or 14 rounds just living with people writing us off and saying we were doomed.

“I know we face a difficult task, and realistically if we are still pointless after these next three matches, realistically I can’t deny there is a risk. But I refuse to believe it.

“We shouldn’t be scared, worried or anxious about what’s happening, we know what’s ahead of us.” 


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