Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero can continue to write his Manchester City story
Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero will decide his own future at Manchester City after the striker's brace sealed a 4-0 win over Bournemouth and his own century of goals at the Etihad Stadium.
Aguero netted for the 100th time on home turf when he headed City into a first-half lead against the Cherries, then began chipping away at his next hundred by nodding a second in a powerful second-half from the Premier League leaders.
Raheem Sterling and Danilo were the other names on the scoresheet as City wrapped up their 17th straight league win, but this was a day for Aguero to soak up the acclaim at a ground he has graced with many great moments.
With the title well on the way to being decided, and the eventual scale of City's triumph the only real point of debate, post-match talk soon turned to the Argentina striker's long-term status at the club.
He faces constant competition from Gabriel Jesus at the head of Guardiola's attack and an ongoing interest in Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez would further crowd the field.
"I respect Sergio a lot, about all he has done and what he will do in the future," said Guardiola when quizzed about the 29-year-old.
"He is a legend; he will decide absolutely everything about his life and his future. I'm delighted to have him here with Gabriel and all the squad."
Guardiola accepts his own popularity with individuals in the dressing room depended entirely on his team selections but is prepared to frustrate his players, Aguero included, as long as the bond within the squad remains at its current level.
"I was a football player, I understand the players being upset, if they don't play they are sad," he said.
"I try to have the best relations possible with the players and I understand when they are upset. What is important is the respect between each other. They don't have to be happy with me, that is not a problem.
"That's our secret, they have an amazing relation between them. The locker room, with the staff, with the players is a dream to go every day training with them."
With 55 points from a possible 57 banked at the season's mid-point, 60 goals scored and just 12 conceded, speculation about City piecing together an 'invincible' undefeated season is gathering steam.
Guardiola has done what he can to play down the possibility and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe attempted to do the same, despite his side's emphatic failure to give their hosts a bloody nose.
"I think anyone is beatable," he said.
"You can't tell what is going to happen, the season is so unpredictable. But they look very strong, take nothing away from them. There's a good feel about them, they look confident and they have outstanding players."
Howe is renowned as an open, attacking coach but admitted he had employed a more pragmatic approach on this occasion, albeit unsuccessfully.
"Games against Manchester City are one-offs really," he said.
"They're a very difficult team to play against and you've got to get the balance between how brave you're going to be with the ball and with your press. Get it wrong and they're going to expose that.
"We tried to stay in the game as long as we could. The second goal was a killer."