Sergio Aguero is unlikely to be risked this weekend as Manchester City’s pursuit of the Quadruple continues.
Star striker Aguero missed the champions’ 2-0 win over Cardiff in midweek with a muscular problem, but has travelled with the squad down to London ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final cash against Brighton at Wembley.
However, manager Pep Guardiola said Aguero will not play if he is not 100 per cent fit, with Carabao Cup winners City visiting Tottenham on Tuesday for the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final and still battling Liverpool neck-and-neck in the title race.
Guardiola wants Aguero, City’s top scorer this term with 27 goals, to lead his attack at Spurs’ new stadium. He is not prepared to risk losing the Argentina international for the rest of the season — even in such a prestige fixture — if there is the slightest doubt over his fitness.
“Sergio is going to play when he’s really, really fit,” the Catalan said on Friday. “The doctors are going to tell me tomorrow if he’s at risk of being injured and after that whether it could be three or four weeks out.
“If that is the case, I’m sure he’s not going to play.
“It’s a semi-final. It’s an important game and we’ll play with the best side possible.”
Gabriel Jesus, who played against Cardiff in the absence of Aguero, is set to keep his place against a Brighton side 15th in the Premier League and not yet safe from relegation. There are likely to be recalls for Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and David Silva, all of whom were rested in midweek.
City will stay in London after facing Brighton and train there ahead of their European showdown with Spurs, rather than travelling back to Manchester only to return again within hours.
Asked if he felt the pressure of leading City’s bid for a clean sweep of all four trophies, Guardiola said: “Absolutely not. I feel the pressure in November or December when you’re, saying ‘Wow, it’s five or six months left’, out of one competition, or not in the next round of the Champions League.
“Now, it’s a joy. An incredible moment. Not relaxed, but if we don’t enjoy these moments…
“We’re trying to get to an FA Cup Final and then keep running.”