LONDON • Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that Sergio Aguero required half-time treatment on a hamstring injury before his remarkable five-goal spree in Manchester City's 6-1 demolition of Newcastle.
After failing to score in five league games, since netting against Chelsea in mid-August, Argentina forward Aguero claimed five goals in 20 minutes and 27 seconds at Eastlands on Saturday.
That made him just the fifth player in Premier League history to score five times and the fastest ever to record that feat.
Yet, after he joined Alan Shearer, Andrew Cole, Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov in that exclusive group, City manager Pellegrini said there had been injury concerns about his star at the interval, at which point City were drawing 1-1 after Aguero claimed an equaliser late in the first half.
HIS FEAT IN NUMBERS
The Argentinian had five shots on target. All of them went past Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The striker needed nine touches to complete his quintuple over a 20-minute period.
The Argentina international now has 84 Premier League goals - level with compatriot Carlos Tevez and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.
FASTEST PREMIER LEAGUE FIVE-GOAL HAULS
Oct 4: Manchester City beat Newcastle 6-1
Nov 2009: Tottenham Hotspur beat Wigan 9-1
Sept 1999: Newcastle beat Sheffield Wednesday 8-0
Nov 2010: Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers 7-1
March 1995: Manchester United beat Ipswich Town 9-0
Pellegrini's decision to send Aguero back out was rewarded in spectacular fashion before he came off after 66 minutes, denying the Argentinian the chance to become the first player to score a double hat-trick in the Premier League era.
"We don't know he can score more goals but we know he has a serious kick from Wednesday in Germany (in the 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League) so maybe he can score one or two more but we have to have a precaution about his kick because he can be injured. He needed treatment at half-time," Pellegrini said. "Maybe it was very good treatment! He had a kick at the back of his hamstring and it was important just to relax him a little bit because he was not 100 per cent comfortable."
Aguero's goal spree recalled the recent exploits of Robert Lewandowski, who scored five goals in nine minutes in Bayern Munich's 5-1 defeat of Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.
Like the Poland striker, Aguero was lauded by his team-mates.
City captain Vincent Kompany, who missed the game through injury, wrote on Twitter that Aguero's display had been "world class".
City's other scorer Kevin de Bruyne, who set up two of Aguero's goals, added: "Sergio Aguero can score goals out of nothing. It is great to have him in the team, obviously."
The Argentinian acknowledged the support. "Very happy about the five goals and the victory," he wrote on Twitter. "Thank you all for the encouragement and support. C'mon, City!"
His astonishing haul came at a time when he had been hinting that his goal touch was returning, finding the net from the penalty spot in the League Cup at Sunderland and in the midweek victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
"It was very important for him to keep calm," said Pellegrini of the recent drought. "He was not nervous because he was not scoring. He knows that with the way we play and with his quality, he will score.
"For me, also, it was very important once again to have the style of play we are going to continue having here. He is always calm. I think he was very happy after the game because I repeat he was calm but he wants to score.
"He is a scoring player and wants to be top of the scoring players and was not scoring the amount of goals he usually does. He was very happy and I hope he would continue the same way."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE