Pep Guardiola has claimed Sergio Aguero will be scoring goals until the day he dies.
The prolific Aguero is just two goals short of equalling Manchester City’s all-time goalscoring record having scored 175 times since moving to the Etihad Stadium in 2011.
City boss Guardiola has worked with Aguero to develop his all-round game but there has never been any doubt about the 29-year-old Argentinian’s finishing ability.
Guardiola said: “All we can say is just to convince him to be involved in the way we want to play – not to be (just) like a striker heading the ball in the box and scoring a goal, but to try to make one high press in the right moment to help to win the ball as quickly possible, to attack as quickly as possible and to be involved in the process to play football.
“I like the strikers who play in the process, like I don’t just like the central defenders to defend. They have to be involved in the play.
“All the players in the world decide to play football for one reason – to play with the ball. Especially when they were kids, they enjoyed the training sessions when they had the ball, and I like all of them to be involved in that. Sergio too.
“But of course he has the character to score goals. He had it in the past in Argentina as a young boy. His mother and father gave him that talent. He will die scoring goals, there is no doubt about that.”
Saturday afternoon football is back at the Etihad! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/HGsjmu7VXw
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 23, 2017
Aguero has scored six goals in as many appearances this season, including a hat-trick – his 10th for the club – in last week’s 6-0 hammering of Watford.
He will get his first chance to challenge the 177-goal record mark of Eric Brook, which has stood since 1939, as bottom side Crystal Palace visit in the Premier League on Saturday.
Guardiola said: “The record is going to be broken. Where? I don’t know. Maybe at home would be better.”
Ahead of the season it was anticipated that Aguero and Gabriel Jesus would compete for one spot up front but such has been their form that Guardiola has been happy to play both together. There are strong signs the pair can form an effective partnership.
Guardiola said: “They (defenders) can’t focus on Sergio. If you focus on one, you help the other one to score goals. That is the way we have changed it a little bit.”
Guardiola has also revealed the club are hoping to agree a new deal with Brazil midfielder Fernandinho, who is in the final year of his current contract.
He said: “The transfer market has finished but clubs are always updating and working. Of course there are players I think the club want to renew. One, of course, is Fernandinho and there are other ones. The club never stops.”
After a challenging couple of weeks which saw us face some of the leading contenders for the Premier League title, Wednesday night’s 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over my former club Sunderland provided some home comfort ahead of this weekend’s league game with Bournemouth at Goodison Park.
Wednesday’s cup tie was the first of four successive home games so to score three goals and keep a clean sheet was a welcome confidence boost for the whole squad.
When the fixtures came out in the summer, we knew it was always going to be a tough first few games in our Premier League season.
We then took four points from the first two matches (we beat Stoke 1-0 on the opening day and drew 1-1 at Manchester City), which we were pleased with. We could even have won at City, but on the night they kept coming at us and eventually grabbed an equaliser. Before the game, though, if you had offered us a draw away at the Etihad, it would have been considered a very good point. And in light of City’s recent results, it now looks an even better point.
After that, we then had a little dip in form, but we are now in the middle of a sequence of home matches at Goodison Park and we are approaching them with the belief that we can put together a run of wins, especially coming off the back of a positive result on Wednesday night.
I have played at Goodison a few times now and I already believe I have built up a strong relationship with our supporters. I have found Everton to be like Sunderland, from the point of view that it is a family-orientated club with a huge fanbase and a passionate following. I think I have already won the fans over but now I need to keep performing and making important saves at the right times, to keep showing people what I can do.
In terms of this weekend and the test we face, Eddie Howe has put together a hard-working Bournemouth side and they will come to Goodison with a game plan, so we will have to be on our toes and ready for the challenge. I know their striker Jermain Defoe from my Sunderland days and I am well aware of what he can produce. Jermain is a proven goalscorer and we will have to keep him quiet. He scored plenty past me in training last season but I am determined that will not be the case this weekend.
After Bournemouth, we then have a Europa League group match against Apollon Limassol, followed by another home Premier League match against Burnley. We have a great opportunity to build some real momentum now and show what we are capable of before going into the next international break.
I was called up to the England squad in the last break but unfortunately I had to withdraw due to a minor injury. To get my chance with England again, first I have to keep working hard on the training pitch, putting in performances for Everton and getting those clean sheets, then hopefully I will get the nod from Gareth Southgate.
The competition for the goalkeeping positions in the squad is really intense at the moment. Personally, I think Joe Hart is a great goalkeeper and someone I looked up to when I was younger with the pathway he took to get to where he has. I think he still deserves to keep the shirt and that is why the keepers below him – and hopefully I am one of them – have to keep pushing hard to be in a successful England team.
But, as I say, my main focus is performing well for Everton, then hopefully the rest will follow. It has been a whirlwind first couple of months – playing as many games as I have for a new club, being in a hotel for so long and then finally getting settled into my new house. It has been a huge change, but a really positive one. I have really enjoyed the start to my Goodison career and I plan to be here for a long time.
Jose Mourinho praised French winger Anthony Martial on Friday for his improved attitude and on-field performances in Manchester United’s strong start to the season.
The 21-year-old struggled to convince Mourinho during his first season in charge at Old Trafford but he has convincingly played his way back into the manager’s plans this term.
The Frenchman has scored four goals already – half of the total he claimed over the whole of last season – including a goal and man-of-the-match performance in the midweek League Cup victory over Championship side Burton Albion.
And Mourinho believes a major reason for the improvement has been Martial’s new attitude and approach to life at Old Trafford.
“I see a great improvement in the person, in the mood, in the face, in the body language,” he said at United’s Carrington training base. “If you just want one word — ‘happiness’. He’s a happy guy, he’s working extremely well.
“He starts matches, he tries to do well. He goes from the bench, even if it’s only for 10 minutes like in the last match at home, he tries to enjoy it and give something in his extra minutes.
“I’m very pleased with his attitude overall. Then it’s just easier to play well.”
Mourinho, whose side are joint top of the Premier League with Manchester City, also says he still has no idea when injured midfielder Paul Pogba will return to his line-up after a hamstring injury suffered in the Champions League win over Basel.
The United manager says he has not even asked medical staff when he will have Pogba back in contention, while some reports have suggested he may be out for 12 weeks.
“I have no idea,” said Mourinho. “But again it is a great opportunity for other players to play and I trust them all.
“So I’m not going to cry or be counting the days for Paul to be back. Not at all. When he’s back, he’ll come. Until then, I trust my people.”
United, who travel to Southampton on Saturday, have started the season strongly in the league, League Cup and Champions League.
Given the club has also this week announced record financial figures, including a record operating profit of £80.8 million ($109.14 million), Mourinho understandably believes the club has every right to enjoy the current wave of optimism sweeping Old Trafford.
“I don’t think it’s about a specific moment of winning a specific competition,” he said.
“I think it is something more global, where the club financially looks really strong, better than ever according to the numbers, where the football team is improving, not just in results but also in a certain style of play, where the connection between the players, the team, the fans looks stronger and stronger.
“Man United fans around the world have more reasons to smile than in the recent past, so I think it is about globality.”