Belfast Telegraph

Man City's Sergio Aguero one of the greatest I have ever worked with, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola called Sergio Aguero a "special player" after the striker scored a hat-trick in his side's 4-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in their delayed Champions League Group C opener.

Aguero opened the scoring in the eighth minute before adding his second from the penalty spot 20 minutes later after debutant Ilkay Gundogan had been brought down.

The Argentinian made it 3-0 midway through the second half before Kelechi Iheanacho completed the rout in added time.

When asked where the 28-year-old ranks among the other strikers Guardiola has worked with, the City manager said: "One of the best, no doubt about that. He has a special quality in the box. He's a special player.

"We played well, so thanks to all the players for making me so happy, for making our fans happy and I hope our football can get better and better."

Guardiola also heaped praise on Gundogan, who made a valuable contribution in his first game in a City shirt.

He added: "He's an amazing player. Of course he's going to help us a lot this year. He's going to help us and we are so happy to have him here."

Gundogan hailed his "perfect" debut after a compelling contribution before being substituted to a standing ovation on 80 minutes.

"I'm really happy - it was a perfect day for me," he said.

"That was my first game for four months and I just tried to work hard, enjoy it and now we're looking ahead to Bournemouth at the weekend.

"It's been tough not playing and not having any real tests other than training and the odd friendly game so to last 80 minutes is very pleasing. I'm starting from zero now and looking forward to the weekend."

Skipper Pablo Zabaleta, meanwhile, reflected: "We played really well and created a lot of chances so we're very pleased with the performance and that we've won the first game.

"It's going to be very tough and we're in a tough group so this is a great start."

Of the 24-hour delay after heavy rain in Manchester, he added: "We'd been preparing for the game since beating Man United and it was frustrating not to play, but the weather conditions were terrible so there was nothing we could do.

"Last night was too wet and today was too hot! But we're very happy. Next up are Celtic and we are paying no attention to their loss at Barcelona which we know is a difficult place to go and play.

"People have said they are the weakest team in the group but I don't agree. They may have had a bad day at the Nou Camp but they are strong in their own stadium and we're expecting every game to be difficult but we'll go to Parkhead and try to get three points and play the same way we did against Monchengladbach."

Belfast Telegraph

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