Pep Guardiola has given his clearest indication yet that Sergio Aguero will be ready for Manchester City’s assault on the Champions League.
Aguero is currently working overtime to prove his fitness after suffering a knee injury last month, with a return for the last 16 second leg against Real Madrid in a fortnight considered unlikely.
The Argentine is undergoing rehabilitation on his left knee three times a day and Guardiola indicated that his entire squad will be available come the game at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.
‘I think against Madrid everyone will be fit apart from (Benjamin) Mendy, who is suspended,’ Guardiola said. ‘So in the training sessions everyone will be fit and we’ll go for the senior guys for this game.’
Counting on Aguero from the bench would serve as a major boost to City, who head into the game with a one-goal lead from the Bernabeu in February.
Guardiola afforded his players two days off this week before they ramp up preparation for Madrid and could see his team become only the fifth in Premier League history to score 100 goals in a season on Sunday.
They end the campaign against depleted, and already relegated, Norwich City.
City – who currently have 97 goals – have twice reached the landmark before, during a record-breaking title romp three years ago and under Manuel Pellegrini in 2014. Liverpool also hit a ton that year, while Chelsea scored 103 a decade ago.
Reaching the milestone will be scant consolation for City after surrendering their crown but could act as a send-off for David Silva, who is due to play his final league fixture.
‘It’s nice to score goals, the way a team can show, but it’s not been enough (this year),’ Guardiola added. ‘A lot of goals but we are 18 points behind Liverpool. Every game there (has to be) a target, desire to win the game and scoring 100 goals is one of the reasons why.
‘And also to see if the players are ready. The way they play against Norwich and the way they train. I will be paying attention for how they play before Madrid. Every day will be an exam for me to see if they are ready to play this game.
‘Against Arsenal we were not ready (for Madrid). Watford was a little bit better but still we need to improve.’