Sunday 19 January 2020

Aguero facing Manchester derby ban but City boss insists his team will cope

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is challenged by Winston Reid of West Ham United. Photo: Getty
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is challenged by Winston Reid of West Ham United. Photo: Getty

Tim Rich

Pep Guardiola insisted Manchester City would cope with the loss of Sergio Aguero should he receive a retrospective three-match ban for elbowing Winston Reid, writes Tim Rich.

The City manager did not appear to realise that incidents not seen by the referee could be reviewed again. Should the FA decide that the elbowing of the West Ham defender constitutes violent conduct, he would face a three-match ban that would cost him his place in the Manchester derby on September 10, as well as games against Bournemouth and Swansea. Any ban would not affect his participation in Manchester City's Champions League fixtures.

"I am new here so I don't know how it works," said Guardiola after the 3-1 win that took City to the top of the Premier League on goal difference.

"I didn't see it so I cannot comment. Hopefully, nothing happens. If it happens, we accept and adapt. If we lose him, we lose him. We are going to play with 11."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was not inclined to fuel the debate. He said the anger he showed after the incident was because he had wanted to make a substitution. He had not seen anything Aguero (above) was alleged to have done.

"Winston had come off and Jonathan Calleri had not come on to replace him. That is why I was having the discussions with the fourth official."

West Ham captain Mark Noble added that Reid "could not talk in the dressing room".

Noble remarked: "He said it was because he had got something in his throat."

Asked whether Reid had been elbowed in the throat, Noble said: "I know that he can't talk in there so that must be the case."

Guardiola added he was disappointed with John Stones's display. The defender was replaced by Aleksandar Kolarov before the hour mark, although he was not injured.

"I saw him tired and I saw him with problems," said Guardiola, who also gave Samir Nasri encouragement that the midfielder had a long-term future at the Etihad Stadium.

On the club's tour of China, Guardiola had criticised Nasri for arriving overweight and this was his first inclusion in the squad. The Frenchman responded with a sparkling performance.

"Samir arrived overweight, but after one week, 10 days, it was fantastic how he trained and competed," said Guardiola.

"His quality is now on another level, but it all depends on him if he wants to help us and be part of something. It depends on him, not me."

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