Guardiola backs Aguero to find form post-Amsterdam crash

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The Manchester City manager conceded his striker is still working his way back to top form after returning from a broken rib

Sergio Aguero is still striving for his best form after suffering a broken rib in a car crash at the end of September, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Aguero netted seven times in as many starts — including a brilliant hat-trick to inspire a 6-0 rout against Watford — at the start of this season before a taxi taking him to the airport after watching a pop concert in Amsterdam crashed into a lamppost.

The 29-year-old returned to action within three weeks and a fine strike in City's 4-2 Champions League win at Napoli in November made him the club's all-time top scorer.

Although penalties against Arsenal and Huddersfield Town have followed, that remains the last time the Argentina star scored from open play after he drew a blank in Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win over West Ham.

Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to play a key role in City's second-half fightback, setting up Nicolas Otamendi's equaliser before David Silva overturned Angelo Ogbonna's 44th-minute opener, meaning Aguero's hopes of starting next weekend's Manchester derby at Old Trafford remain up in the air.

Nevertheless, he retains the support and belief of his manager.

"In the first part of the season he was top, before the accident in Amsterdam," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"I remember the performance in Watford and the performance in Rotterdam, most of the games.

"After that he is trying. He gave minutes in the last two games but it is not easy for him as well — with 10 players [behind the ball] there is almost no space.

"Sooner or later he is going to come back to who he is."

Guardiola praised Jesus after his introduction at the interval, when City reverted to a bold 4-2-4 formation. Wingers Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane flanked the front two as playmakers David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne patrolled the middle of the field.

Late winners from Sterling have seen off Huddersfield and Southampton over the past week, and having watched a laboured first-half display against West Ham, the former Barcelona coach believes he might have hit upon a solution when it comes to confronted massed defensive ranks.

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"Maybe today I learned a little bit as a manager to attack a little bit differently because we played with two strikers," he said.

"Normally I don't play like this, with two strikers and two wingers. Maybe to attack this kind of defence it's much better for us.

"So, it's good news for me for the future when a team decides to play in this way like Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham. Maybe we can play with two strikers in the box and play in the same way, with the same passion and the same quality."