Guardiola hails importance of ‘big players’ like Aguero

The manager has added his voice to the masses who have praised City’s all-time record goalscorer since his showing against Arsenal last week

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has praised Sergio Aguero’s mentality ahead of his side’s clash with Chelsea on Sunday.

The Argentine bagged a hat-trick in their last home game, a 3-1 win against Arsenal, and has netted an impressive eight times in his last nine games. So outstanding has Aguero been this season, he has already notched 20 goals in all competitions.

While the striker’s performances have earned many plaudits in recent weeks, Guardiola has highlighted this not just a hot streak and has commended Aguero’s consistency over the years. 

City’s No.10 has scored at least 28 goals in each of the last five campaigns and, should he continue his form this season, will add a sixth come May.

“The big players need to appear in the big games, in the big ­moments, and he has done it,” said the City boss in his pre-match press conference.

“Hopefully, he can ­continue to do it. In the big games, we need the ­important players. No Sarri is [as] ­important, no Pep, no Jurgen or any manager. This game belongs to the players and the important games belong to the special players.”

It is not just Aguero’s technical ability that has impressed Guardiola, but his leadership capabilities.

“Sometimes it helps to understand what he has done,” he said.

“That goal against Liverpool summed up what he is about. ­Sometimes the best tennis players on a point to save the break, they make an ace.

“In the big moments, always the big athletes come there, the big finals, the big moments.

“Sometimes some players hide in the scary moments. The other ones step forward and say, ‘I’m the boss, I’m here and I’m going to win the game’.

“Big clubs need these kinds of players. It’s ­simple.”

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich man will be hoping Aguero is on target again this Sunday.

City pulled level on points with Liverpool on Wednesday night, but with their rivals set to play a day before them, the champions could be three points off the pace again by the time they face Chelsea.

The Blues proved to be a formidable opponents last time they met, with N’Golo Kante and David Luiz scoring in a 2-0 win for Maurizio Sarri’s men in December.

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