Sergio Aguero admits it “wasn’t easy” for him to meet the demands of Pep Guardiola during the early stages of the Catalan’s reign at Manchester City which sparked unwelcome transfer talk.
When a change in the dugout was made at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, it appeared tweaks to the playing staff could follow.
Aguero, who was famed for his predatory instincts in and around the penalty area, saw questions asked of his ability to fit a system favoured by Guardiola in which every player must pull their weight.
The Argentine concedes that he finds the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss “intense”, with his game having to be changed accordingly.
Aguero has done that, becoming City’s all-time leading goalscorer in the process, with talks over dinner with Guardiola having made him aware of what was expected.
In the latest serialisation of the book ‘Pep’s City: The Making of a Superteam’, Aguero is quoted by The Sun as saying: “Pep asked me to try a new way of playing and I had to adapt. It wasn't easy but I had no choice.
“My game is totally different now from what I was doing five years ago at City. A total transformation. At that meal, we talked about loads of things.
“We kept postponing it and then when we finally met up, we talked about work for 20 minutes or so. The rest of the meal we spent chatting about other stuff, family, life in general.”
Aguero can now see the benefits of what Guardiola was asking for, with the 31-year-old having overcome the challenge presented by the arrival of Brazilian frontman Gabriel Jesus at City.
He added: “When Pep arrived I was a bit taken aback by his intensity, it wasn't always easy to understand what he wanted.
“With Pep, it can feel like he's putting a lot of pressure on you. You start thinking, ‘I've got to play well’ and only end up putting even more pressure on yourself.
“But I understood pretty quickly that's just how he is. Pep is super intense. He won't leave you alone for a second. There are no off days.”
Aguero has passed the 30-goal mark in each of Guardiola’s three seasons with City and has eight efforts to his name through nine appearances in the current campaign.