Pep Guardiola has his heart set on Sergio Aguero continuing to spearhead the Manchester City attack.
Aguero’s future at the Etihad Stadium was surprisingly thrown into doubt when Guardiola left him on the bench for last week’s 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League.
The Argentina star returned for Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Southampton but his run of five matches without a goal continued alongside City’s winless slump.
Guardiola hopes to mastermind a restorative victory for the Premier League leaders against rivals Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and, although he pledged to rotate a starting XI that will be without Kevin De Bruyne due to a calf injury, he is not adverse to unleashing Ballon d’Or nominee Aguero at Old Trafford.
“Yeah, he’s in contention yeah, with the other guys. Sergio played really well in the last game,” said the former Barca and Bayern Munich boss.
“I want to be clear again – I am so happy with Sergio. Hopefully he can stay for a long time here.
“When I said it depends on Sergio, it does not mean I don’t want him to stay. I want, from deep in my heart, him to stay and play with us.
“He’s a special player, a striker. He’s scored a million goals in his career. We cannot forget how many goals he has scored with us. I am here to help him.
“When the team doesn’t win for a short time, always I try – what can I do to help them individually and collectively. When we make mistakes, they are my mistakes.
“That’s why I decided to come here, to help this club and these players to make a step above. I knew from the beginning how difficult it would be because we play a lot of games and do not have too many times to make corrections during the training sessions.
“But we cannot forget how good we play, even in the last games when we didn’t win. We made many, many, many things.”
City’s attacking reserves will be further bolstered in January when Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus arrives from Palmeiras and Guardiola is excited over the 19-year-old’s potential after he took his international goals tally to four in as many appearances during the last round of World Cup qualifiers.
“The club decided to pick him up, to buy him. We’re so happy because he is a guy who is 19 years old and playing number nine for Brazil – it means a lot,” he said.
“We’re so happy he’s here. I’m sure he’s going to help us, not just this season but in the future with this club.
From my point of view to just try and help him – Fernandinho, Fernando a lot of Brazilian players are here to adjust, to adapt as soon as possible.
“We’re looking forward to him coming to us.”