Pep Guardiola insists Sergio Aguero will be a big part of his plans at Manchester City this season.
City manager Guardiola left Aguero out of his starting line-up at Bournemouth a fortnight ago, sparking yet another bout of speculation over the prolific Argentinian’s future.
Guardiola, who repeatedly dismissed any prospect of selling Aguero last season, is adamant nothing should be read into this.
The former Barcelona manager said: “I’ve said many times, he’s going to play a lot of games but sometimes he’s not going to play.
“I know it’s something special for a player who’s never been rotated and has always played with the previous managers, but in my case he’s going to play like last season – a lot of games. I think he played, when fit, maybe 90 per cent of the games, especially in the important games.
“Maybe one day we decide we’ll only play with one striker and sometimes with Gabriel (Jesus), and sometimes with two. Sometimes we’ll play with neither. Maybe Sergio and Gabriel won’t play and we’ll play a false nine. It depends on my ‘silly’ decisions.”
City will be without captain Vincent Kompany for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool after the defender suffered a calf injury during Belgium’s 9-0 thrashing of Gibraltar last week.
Guardiola has no issue with his Belgium counterpart Roberto Martinez for not substituting the player.
He said: “You never know when it’s going to happen. It could happen here in a training session. I’m not a guy to call national managers and tell them what to do.”
After failing in deadline-day attempts to sign West Brom centre-back Jonny Evans, Kompany’s injury brings the marginalised Eliaquim Mangala back into the reckoning.
Guardiola said: “He’s a real central defender and we are going to help him a little bit with the weakness in the build-up, to help him improve. I told him he is part of the group and he has to win my confidence on the pitch.”
City lost highly-rated 17-year-old English midfielder Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund on deadline day and Guardiola admits that was a shame, although the youngster had apparently been refusing to train.
He said: “We arrived in an agreement with Sancho, we shook hands. We offered him a huge deal in terms of the salary, he would have been (among the most) well paid in all the Academy.
“After that, before we went to the States, he decided – or the managers (agents) decided – ‘I am not going to sign the contract’. We said, ‘Okay you are not going to travel to the States’. After that, the last two or three weeks, he didn’t appear in the training sessions. He should (have) come but he didn’t.
“Maybe he thought he would get more minutes at Dortmund and I can understand that. We are going to wish him the best but it is disappointing.”