Sergio Aguero demonstrated his considerable worth to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as his brilliant first-half double helped sink West Bromwich Albion to cap the Premier League leaders’ return to form on Saturday.
Guardiola’s appreciation of his star striker had seemed lukewarm of late, leading to questions over the Argentine’s future with City.
Yet the Spaniard was again left offering only effusive praise about Aguero after he and two-goal Ilkay Gundogan were instrumental in ending the worst managerial run of his career.
“We need Sergio. We know how important he is for us when he can convince us how good he is and how important he is for this club,” Guardiola told the BBC after the win that kept City on top of the table on goal difference.
“He is part of the history for this club. I would like to help him. Still he can write the most brilliant images for himself in this club. He is one of the best.
“I am going to help him to be much, much better. That is my target. So that every game he feels how important he is. I’m so, so happy for him because with all of that he is one of the nicest people I have met.”
Guardiola’s tribute came a few days after he had felt compelled to say publicly he wanted the striker to stay at the club “for a long time” following media reports that he could leave after being left out of the team that started the biggest match of the season against Barcelona in the Champions League.
Here was evidence why he is so important as City, after six matches without a win, were back to their irresistible early-season best, capped by Aguero striking superbly twice in the space of seven minutes midway through the first half.
First, he latched on to Gundogan’s pass to fire the ball low into the net before he capitalised on dithering defence from Albion to steal the ball on the edge of the area and smash home a second into the top corner.
Aguero then put paid to West Brom’s impressive second-half resurgence with the exquisite flick that put in Gundogan for City’s third — the goal that ensures they stay top of the league on goal difference — before the impressive German international sealed his own double a minute from time.
Guardiola was left sounding relieved after a barren spell when he admitted he had been suffering from some doubts, although not over his approach to City’s possession-based attacking game.
“It’s the first time I have not won in six games,” he said. “Always you have doubts. (But) not over the principles.”