Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has moved to the next level this season and has been pleased with his link-up play with Gabriel Jesus.
Aguero has scored seven goals in seven matches in all competitions this term, continuing his fine form to move within one of City’s all-time scoring record ahead of their Champions League meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
But Guardiola feels Aguero is now about more than just the goals as he offers the team a different option in attack.
“I think the qualities that [Aguero] had in the past are the same,” the City manager told a pre-match news conference. “Maybe now we play more with him, not just in the finishing department.
“Before, Sergio just scored a goal. Now, when John [Stones], Nico [Otamendi], Fernandinho and Yaya [Toure] have the ball, we know he is there and that helps to be more involved.”
Jesus has also hit the ground running this season with five goals of his own, but Guardiola has also been impressed with his selfless work for the team.
“Now we have five strikers I trust,” he added. “There is no doubt about his ability, his impact since he arrived, on and off the pitch. I am delighted with him.
PEP: On and off the pitch. I am delighted with @gabrieljesus33. He helps Sergio score, helps our pressing and dynamic. He’s so important.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 25, 2017
“He helps Sergio to score goals, in our pressing and dynamism and fighting, in a lot of things that maybe we didn’t have. With him, we have it. He is so important.
“The most important thing is age. He is so young and a number nine striker from Brazil. He trains every day and fights every game and has the desire to become a really good player in world football.”
Guardiola was also asked about the development of young players at the Etihad Stadium after Pablo Maffeo hit the headlines for his marking of Lionel Messi while on loan at Girona, with the City manager believing such moves prove beneficial.
He said: “I’ve always said that Premier League second teams don’t compete very well. They [City’s young players] need this kind of competition.
“If they can’t play in the first team they need to go in other leagues and play in those big games and face players like Messi. That’s the best way to improve.”
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