Pep Guardiola’s defiant stance over Manchester derby selection should please Man Utd
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has ruled out a start for Sergio Aguero in this weekend’s Manchester derby – coming as a major boost to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Manchester United are due to host City in the Premier League on Saturday night, just four days after their elimination from the Champions League group stage.
A 3-2 defeat away at RB Leipzig on Tuesday night demoted the Red Devils to the Europa League, heaping further pressure on under-fire manager Solskjaer.
It was a different story for their neighbours, who had already sealed qualification from Group C prior to their final outing against Marseille on Wednesday.
And to close out the group stage in style, City put three past the French outfit on a comfortable night which saw Aguero get back on the scoresheet.
The Argentine came off the bench with just over 20 minutes remaining to make only his fifth appearance of the season, having suffered knee and hamstring issues.
His only outing over the last month was a 12-minute spell off the bench in their 1-0 win away at Olympiakos on November 25, with his last Premier League appearance coming against West Ham on October 24.
Nevertheless, just 10 minutes after being introduced against Marseille on Wednesday, Aguero managed to register his second goal of the season from close range.
With the hosts leading 1-0 at The Etihad, Phil Foden whipped in a City corner and picked out Nathan Ake, whose header was parried by Steve Mandanda.
And displaying a typical poachers instinct, Aguero was first to pounce on the loose ball in the six-yard box and tap it home.
Guardiola insists the 32-year-old will not be ready to start this Saturday’s Manchester derby, however, which will come as music to United’s ears.
When asked if he could be given the nod, Guardiola said: “No.”
The Spaniard then added: “His instinct to score will always be there. He’s had three or four training sessions and the reaction was good.
“He had 25 minutes and scored a goal. Step by step. Will see the reaction tomorrow.”