Pep Guardiola insists Sergio Aguero deserves all the plaudits after his brilliant four-goal performance in Manchester City’s 5-1 victory over Leicester City.
The Argentina international striker took his tally to 13 goals in 10 matches since the turn of the year, which coincided with a knee injury to fellow forward Gabriel Jesus.
Aguero now has 28 goals for the season and Guardiola singled him out for praise after his response after City missed a number of chances in the draw at Burnley seven days earlier.
“We made a good performance and when one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit and the nice words,” Guardila told a news conference.
“He fought, he played really good and he scored goals and it’s so important, we needed it. We played not quite as well as in Burnley but in Burnley we missed a lot of chances. Today we were there.”
Guardiola has grown increasingly concerned about his side’s inability to make the most of their dominance ahead of the resumption of the Champions League.
City opened up a 16-point at the top of the Premier League, although Manchester United can reduce it back to 13 at Newcastle United on Sunday.
Guardiola’s side have dropped points in just four of their 27 Premier League matches this season but he insists they cannot afford to let up.
“I cannot deny the distance for the next one, today is 16, tomorrow maybe United is going to win and 13 points,” he said.
“There is still a lot to play, I don’t know what is going to happen. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot.
“With that spirit and with a lot of problems — today we had three guys from the second team on the bench because we have a lot of problems.
“We have to wait for Vincent [Kompany] to lift the titles otherwise we will only have good memories for ourselves. I cannot deny that we didn’t enjoy the last six or seven months
“But to be admired, to be loved, to give credit for what we have done, we have to lift the titles but we are in the right way.”
It was a tough day for Leicester, who had used Riyad Mahrez as a second half substitute after he returned to training on Friday.
The Algerian winger received a warm reception from the away fans and Claude Puel is keen to move on from his “strike” which followed his failed move to City in the January transfer window.
“He maintained a good level, a good fitness, alone and it was important he came back quick. We have lost time and now it’s important to look forwards.
“The transfer window is finished and he put [things] right [with what] he said. Of course we are stronger with our best player.
“He made perhaps a mistake. Riyad is a valuable player for the team, other players have welcomed Riyad with a good feeling. No problem with Riyad, no problem with other players. We are a squad and now it’s important to move forward together.
“The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward, and put this behind us, with the next games coming up.
“The first half was good, but when we conceded the goal it was a bad time for us, it changed the game. And then the second goal was hard too, it was difficult to find a new feeling after that. To concede five is a harsh feeling for us. Of course it was tough for us against this team.
“We conceded a lot of chances in the first half, maybe got a little lucky, so at half time I tried to change things a little bit. But their second goal changed the game.”