Sergio Aguero would have risked missing the rest of the calendar year had he played against Bournemouth, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
Aguero was absent from the City squad for Saturday's Premier League contest, which City won 3-1 despite being without their record goalscorer, with Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan on target for the Premier League leaders.
The Argentine forward complained of discomfort in training ahead of the match and, with a clash against Chelsea coming up on Saturday and a hectic festive schedule on the horizon, Guardiola will not take risks with Aguero or any member of his squad.
"Eat well, sleep a lot, drink a lot - in a good way, no wine - and prepare," Guardiola told a news conference. "Tell them what's going to happen next Tuesday in Watford and try to win the game and push everybody. That's all. After the decision we'll see the day of the game.
"After Lyon [in the Champions League] I didn't know we were going to come back here and doctors say to me Sergio cannot play. If he plays, maybe four or five weeks out. In that situation in this month with a lot of games, he was not safe. That is normal.
"It is going to happen in the future in the next games. People will start to be tired and a lot of games. That's why we have a deep squad and everybody must be involved.
"It is what it is. Adapt. With a deep squad you have some players in the second team, you're going to play 11 and everybody has to do their best. That is what it is. I play nine games but many other contenders, our opponents, play nine games too.
"So it's not because we play more games than the others. It's the same. So why would we complain? Nothing. Play every day, try to be there and play the game."
Asked if Aguero could be available to face Watford, Guardiola added: "I'm not quite sure. We'll see tomorrow [Sunday].
"That's why I said before, day by day we'll see. I speak to the doctors every day they make the report to me the briefing and say he's ready or not ready and we decide."
Bien hecho chicos // Well done, lads C’mon City! pic.twitter.com/vmqKlxwGwM— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) December 1, 2018
Guardiola said at a recent event he feels he is a better manager than ever, but he rejected the suggestion this means his City team are stronger than his previous sides at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
"Big words my friend. Big words. Were you in Barcelona sometimes? No. It doesn't matter," Guardiola said. "I'm not here to say whether this is a better side than Bayern Munich or Barcelona. That is no sense.
"It is another reality how the people attack our team, it's completely different here for the way they play. I didn't go to Bayern Munich to overcome. It was a pleasure to be in Barcelona, an incredible pleasure to be in Munich, no I am enjoying like you cannot image here.
"I will judge my career when I'm finished, how happy I was in all the places. After that the way we played that people like. We'll improve. No regrets with that."