Manuel Pellegrini said people seemed to have forgotten that Manchester City won the Premier League title without Sergio Aguero playing for much of the time and James Milner seemed irritated by the suggestion that there is a dependency culture around the Argentinian.
"People can say whatever they want, if they think we're a one-man team,'' said Saturday's man of the match as City contemplated the knee ligament damage, sustained two minutes into the 1-0 win over Everton, which will deprive them of Aguero in Rome this week.
Numerically they are right. City's win rate in the 22 games Aguero played last season was 73 per cent; in the 18 he missed it was 67 per cent. But it is in the big games that they miss him: the four defeats without him came against Chelsea, Barcelona and Liverpool, as well as at Villa Park. Wednesday night in Stadio Olimpico against Roma is as big as they get: victory will probably be mandatory and probably need a world-class intervention.
Aguero sensed immediately that something was wrong and we can assume that the tears as he left the field were born of frustration. "He told us he felt something strange happen inside (the knee),'' Pellegrini explained.
"Big problem,'' was how Pellegrini described Aguero's injury, and it certainly compounds a formidable list of doubts for the trip to the Italian capital.
David Silva and Vincent Kompany are "maybe not 100 per cent'' and it is hard to imagine Pellegrini risking the fragility of either. Yaya Touré is suspended. Stevan Jovetic is more likely to appear after a hamstring problem kept him out on Saturday.