Sergio Aguero in contention for Manchester City return


Sergio Aguero could be involved as Manchester City wrap up their Champions League group campaign against Marseille on Wednesday.

Manager Pep Guardiola, however, has insisted Saturday’s derby against Manchester United will play no part in his thinking for the closing Group C fixture at the Etihad Stadium.

Striker Aguero, who has featured just four times this season, is pushing to return after missing the last three games due to discomfort in his knee. City have been unwilling to take risks with their record goalscorer, with his return from knee surgery last summer having already been complicated by a hamstring injury.

Aguero has managed just four appearances this season
Aguero has managed just four appearances this season

Guardiola said: “We are going to decide tomorrow (Wednesday). Maybe he is on the bench.

“Tomorrow we are going to do a training session and see how his reaction is in his body, not just his knee.

“The important is the last two, three, four days he was part of the group in the training and his reaction and the niggles he had in the recent past were disappeared.”

Having already secured top spot in the group, there is nothing riding on the game for City.

Guardiola has suggested he will make wholesale changes but he says this is not because he wants to rest players. He insists it is because he wants to ensure all players in his squad get game time and remain sharp for when they are called upon.

City boss Guardiola insists rotation is not about rest
City boss Guardiola insists rotation is not about rest

He says he will pick the best side to win the game within those parameters and not with thoughts on the weekend trip to Old Trafford.

The former Barcelona boss said at his pre-match press conference: “We’re going to play the game to win the game and I don’t rotate the team. I try to put all the players in the best condition for any game and decide the best team for this specific game.

“There is not one team for one competition and one for another one. It is important the last few days that, except for one or two players, everybody was involved. Everybody has to be to be ready.

“I don’t rest players. Our team who are going to play tomorrow can play against United and then the guys who don’t play tomorrow maybe they’ll play again or not. I don’t know.”

Guardiola also said it means “absolutely nothing” that there is a relative lack of pressure on City ahead of the derby while United have a decisive encounter against RB Leipzig.

He said: “They will be focused and when you are focused and the next game is a derby, you continue to focus. I speak from my experience.”

Phil Foden is set for another start
Phil Foden is set for another start

One player expected to be in the side is midfielder Phil Foden, who has started the last four Champions League games while being on the bench in the Premier League in recent weeks.

Guardiola sees the 20-year-old as an important part of his attacking unit.

He said: “Now in this moment I see him playing up front because he is dynamic, with the sense of goal.

“Now he can play both wings, behind the striker or a striker. The way he attacks the ball is incredible.

“We are delighted to have him and he’s incredibly important for us. He knows it and the team knows it.”

City number two Zack Steffen hopes for another opportunity
City number two Zack Steffen hopes for another opportunity

Second-choice goalkeeper Zack Steffen could also make his Champions League debut.

“Walking out and hearing the song is going to be really special for me and my family,” the American said. “I am excited to get out there.”

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