Aguero and Kompany staying at City: Pep

LONDON • Pep Guardiola insists Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany remain in his plans, after the Manchester City manager stated that the striker understood why he was dropped for the midweek defeat by Barcelona, while the centre-back informed the doctor that he was unfit for the Champions League group game.

City lost 0-4 on Wednesday, with Guardiola preferring Kevin de Bruyne to Aguero up front. Kompany was not included in the 18-man squad.

That led to speculation in the British media that the two players were being sidelined by Guardiola.

"Out of my plans? My plans are that Sergio and Vincent are part of the future of Manchester City," the manager said.

"Kompany was not fit. Aguero was a tactical decision, we wanted more in the middle.

"I spoke to Sergio about that, he was so understanding."

Kompany also remains a key player but Guardiola is clear the captain has to regain full fitness.

"What I saw when he is fit - he's a real central defender," said the Spaniard. "I like him. But we tried to take care of him. He went to the doctors in Barcelona and say, 'I'm not able to play'."

After four games without a win, City will be desperate for victory when they welcome Southampton to the Etihad Stadium in tomorrow's Premier League clash.

"Only three months together, you cannot imagine how difficult it is to build something," said Guardiola.

"Barcelona have been playing together for 15 years, they play in a natural way. But we are improving, some of the things we did, we did really well."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Aguero and Kompany staying at City: Pep'. Print Edition | Subscribe