Wednesday 22 November 2017

Aguero to remain with City as Pep plans for next phase

Watford 5 Manchester City 0

Sergio Aguero celebrates. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire.
Sergio Aguero celebrates. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire.

Sam Wallace

It took Sergio Aguero less than 15 minutes to dismantle Watford with two first-half goals that secured Manchester City's Champions League place for next season and afterwards Pep Guardiola confirmed that the Argentinian will not be leaving the club this summer.

Aguero led a demolition of Walter Mazzari's Hornets in this, his last game in charge of the club which, as far as many in the home crowd were concerned, was at least one too many.

Manchester City's Fernandinho scores their fourth goal. Photo: Reuters / Matthew Childs
Manchester City's Fernandinho scores their fourth goal. Photo: Reuters / Matthew Childs

As for Guardiola, third place will count as a disappointment, but it was a long way from the disaster that was looming should City have finished outside the top four and and his relief was palpable.

Asked to confirm that Aguero, the club's top goalscorer with 20 league goals, would stay at City, Guardiola finally gave a definitive answer. "Every press conference (the question gets asked). Okay, guys. He will be (at City) next season. Happy? Good. Perfect."

City will not have the inconvenience of an August qualifier for the Champions League group stages and they have scored 15 goals in winning their last four games.

The stage is set for Guardiola to rebuild this summer with decisions to be made over Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas who are both out of contract but expected to be offered new deals.

Manchester City's Gael Clichy in action with Watford's Nordin Amrabat. Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth
Manchester City's Gael Clichy in action with Watford's Nordin Amrabat. Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

Guardiola warned, however, that buying players would not be easy, citing Real Madrid's £38 million purchase of the 16-year-old Brazilian Vinicius Junior from Flamengo as an example of the inflated market.

"We will be staying with some players and others maybe not," he said. "We will see in the next few days.

He added: "When Real Madrid and Barcelona want that player, they take that player. The other teams cannot compete … what City needs is time. No way (can we compete now).

"With Real Madrid and Barcelona, money is not always enough. To compete against them we need time, decades, to be there.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero shoots towards goal. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero shoots towards goal. Photo credit: Steven Paston/PA Wire

"To achieve the next step the gap is smaller but it is more and more difficult.

"The big clubs in Europe - Barcelona, Bayern, Real Madrid Juventus, Atletico - have made that step.

"You need time, but in this world (being granted) time does not exist. It is not allowed.

"Every season qualifying for the Champions League is tougher and tougher. We are there.

As for Watford, this was their sixth defeat in a row since they secured 40 points and it was too much for some parts of the home support who baited their departing manager.

Manchester City's Gael Clichy in action with Watford's Nordin Amrabat. Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth
Manchester City's Gael Clichy in action with Watford's Nordin Amrabat. Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

When referee Jon Moss called Mazzarri over for a chat about his conduct, the home fans made their feelings known. When the fifth goal went in it got even nastier with Mazzarri invited to "f*** off", and "get out of our club".

Heurelho Gomes hinted at the problems with Mazzarri. "It is important to speak English if you are a manager," said the Watford goalkeeper.

"They cannot pass on instructions to the players but he tried his best and we thank him for it. But we can't just blame the manager and we apologise for some of our mistakes."

Watford were behind within the first five minutes when an unmarked Vincent Kompany headed in Kevin De Bruyne's corner.

Aguero scored twice midway through the half. The first came when Abdoulaye Doucoure slipped and De Bruyne slipped the ball through to him, while Gael Clichy, David Silva and Leroy Sane were involved in the move that led to the Argentinian's second.

Fernandinho cut in from his position at right-back to score the fourth before half-time.

Gabriel Jesus controlled Aguero's cut back to score the fifth and pile on the agony for Mazzarri, who skipped Watford's lap of appreciation. © Daily Telegraph, London.

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