Pep Guardiola has declared hat-trick hero Sergio Aguero a Manchester City “legend” as the club prepares a party for his goal-scoring exploits.
City boss Guardiola lavished praise on Argentina striker Aguero, whose sixth Premier League treble helped demolish Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road.
The visitors stormed to the Premier League summit thanks to Aguero’s haul, with Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi and Raheem Sterling also on target.
Aguero would break Eric Brook’s 177-goal club-record haul with another hat-trick against Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium on September 23 – and Guardiola admitted he already has the champagne on ice.
Brazil forward Jesus’ 2016 arrival sparked rumours City would seek to offload Aguero, but the 29-year-old’s irresistible form has left Guardiola purring and his pivotal status secured.
“Hopefully that will happen very soon, and hopefully we can have a big celebration,” said Guardiola, of Aguero’s march towards City’s all-time scoring record.
“Hopefully the club can do that one day soon in the stadium at the game. He’s a legend, and it’s a part of history in the club.”
Aguero’s sixth Premier League hat-trick carried his City goal tally to 175. Now only Alan Shearer with 11, Robbie Fowler with nine and Michael Owen and Thierry Henry with eight have more Premier League trebles.
Last term City’s taskmaster boss Guardiola challenged Aguero to work harder off the ball and deliver more than just goals.
In a triumphant march to the top of the table in London, Aguero laid on a smart goal for Jesus with a neatly-threaded pass, again leaving Guardiola impressed.
“Listen I always think he works hard,” said Guardiola, of Aguero. “But he’s a guy I encourage to play, not just to score goals.
“I don’t want just two or three players defending or trying to score goals, I want everyone defending and everyone attacking.
“I want to see every player move towards the ball, especially the strikers.”
Aguero remains so confident in his goal-scoring touch as to have palmed off City’s late penalty to England forward Sterling.
The former Liverpool star won the spot-kick, and Aguero deferred to his colleague despite being City’s designated penalty taker.
City boss Guardiola waved his assent at the switch from the touchline, then later praised Aguero for his selflessness with the move.
Asked if he was happy for Sterling to take the penalty, Guardiola replied: “At zero-five yeah. I like penalties to be taken by the takers but I understand why they switched because Sterling created the penalty.
“Sergio showed again what a good guy he is. A hat-trick is not easy, but he did it, so he deserves all the credit.”
Watford started the day with the chance to move top of the top-flight for the first time since September 1982. The Hornets were stung time and again in a torrid afternoon however, leaving boss Marco Silva frustrated with the size of the loss.
Watford boss Silva claimed two of City’s goals were offside, while also bemoaning his side being denied a possible penalty.
Kyle Walker’s challenge on Nathaniel Chalobah was unpunished, leaving Silva hinting at double standards in the officiating.
“I think the first goal was offside, the second goal we made a big mistake and maybe the third goal is offside too; this is the truth,” said Silva.
“We had one clear penalty. I’m sure it wouldn’t change the result, but would give more confidence in this moment.
“In the similar moments, they decide one moment for one side and not the same for the other side.”
Published at Sat, 16 Sep 2017 18:23:58 +0000