Ilkay Gundogan pays tribute to "goal machine" Sergio Aguero
Manchester City's stars have hailed "goal machine" Sergio Aguero as vital to the Etihad Stadium outfit's quest for glory this term.
The Argentina hitman claimed his sixth Premier League hat-trick on Saturday as City hammered Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road.
The 29-year-old needs just three more goals to break City's all-time scoring record, held by Eric Brook with 177 strikes since 1939.
And now Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling have heaped the praise on Aguero, insisting the free-scoring forward remains central to City's fight for silverware.
"He's very special, just a goal machine," Gundogan told City's official club website.
"His last goal was incredible, it showed all his talent and how powerful he is.
"We need him and hopefully he'll score a lot more goals."
Aguero's sixth top-flight treble floored Watford, with Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi and Sterling also on target.
Now only Alan Shearer with 11, Robbie Fowler with nine and Michael Owen and Thierry Henry with eight have more Premier League hat-tricks,
Regular penalty taker Aguero allowed Sterling to take City's late spot-kick, a gesture that drew praise from boss Pep Guardiola.
Sterling himself attempted to return the compliment by adding to the acclaim for the high-scoring Aguero.
"You can see every game that if you give Sergio a chance, nine times out of 10 it's a goal," said Sterling.
"Everyone's buzzing. It was a great performance. We got the ball and we were really clinical, that's what the manager wants and that's what we were."
City have bagged 15 goals without response in three matches, with the 5-0 Liverpool win and 4-0 Champions League victory at Feyenoord completing an impressive week's work.
Taskmaster boss Guardiola's evolution appears to be gathering pace, but City are refusing to accept their recent heights as any kind of peak.
"I don't know if it was perfect - after a tough week with the Champions League and the travelling, the way we played was just amazing," said Gundogan.
"We just need to continue like that."
Watford started Saturday with the chance to reach the top-flight's summit for the first time since September 1982, but wound up surrendering their unbeaten start to the new Premier League campaign in tame fashion.
"It's a good match for our team to learn at this level," said Watford manager Marco Silva.
"We made mistakes. We need to keep our focus and organisation every time.
"We need to look forward. We only lost three points and this is a good way to learn about playing with the same level and the same intensity every time."