Guardiola pinpoints why Man City were off the pace at start of season

Date published: Sunday 12th January 2020 7:09

Pep Guardiola hailed Sergio Aguero as a “legend” after his hat-trick in Manchester City’s win over Aston Villa – but was in a reflective mood.

Man City moved back up to second in the league with a 6-1 thrashing of Villa, with Aguero’s treble seeing him become the Premier League’s top foreign scorer and top scorer of hat-tricks.

Aguero has now scored more Premier League goals than Thierry Henry, a player Guardiola once coached at Barcelona – and the City boss believes Aguero has built a legacy comparable to that of the former Arsenal hero.

“He’s a legend and legends rise tonight,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Thierry Henry is one most incredible players to play in this league and he will be proud that Sergio is the guy who breaks his record.

“He was a legend and Sergio is the same. To score this amount of goals means you have done for many years a lot of good things. He’s been consistent for many years and so we are proud of him.

“He is the most incredible person. You cannot achieve this without being a guy who loves to play football.”

City may have risen back to second, but there is still a 14-point distance to leaders Liverpool, who also have a game in hand.

Guardiola was pleased that his side showed increased resilience compared to their win over Manchester United in midweek, but admitted a lack of focus earlier in the season may have cost them the chance to retain their title.

“It was good performance. We had control of the transitions and passes were good. It was a great result.

“Against Manchester United they came back into the game in the second half but today we played a complete 90 minutes.

“If you lose the form it will be gone. We dropped points in early in the season – maybe we were not incredibly focused but even the games we lost we created chances.

“We are second in the table and for a long time we were not there so we will try and maintain this position.”

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