Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has warned that his side must be careful as they look to work Sergio Aguero back into the team.
City have made their worst start to a Premier League season for more than a decade following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
Club-record goalscorer Aguero was an unused substitute at Spurs after missing the last month with a hamstring injury.
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Guardiola’s side sit 13th in the Premier League table and the City boss, who this week signed a two-year contract extension to keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2023, says his side need to start winning games quickly.
Aguro could be key to any turnaround, as City have scored just 10 goals from their opening eight Premier League fixtures and just five from their last six matches.
The Argentinian has made just three appearances in the last five months after suffering a knee injury in June and Guardiola says they must carefully manage his return.
“I'm not going to say we don't need Sergio, we need him,” Guardiola said. “But Sergio is 32 and was five months injured with a difficult and dangerous injury.
“He came back, he played 50 minutes and 55 and got injured again. We want and I want Sergio fit because I know how important he is for us and what he has done in the Premier League.
“But we have to be careful, to not get knocked back again and injured again and you have to see the right moment to put him back in the side. Hopefully it can be soon and maintain the regularity to play games.”
Though City could potentially use some tweaks after a poor start, Guardiola has said it is impossible for managers to work on tactics because of the hectic schedule.
With at least two games a week between now and the new year, the 49-year-old says there’s no time to work on changes in training.
“It's impossible,” he said. “But it's the same for all clubs so I'm not saying we're at an advantage or a disadvantage. But it's impossible, there's no time.”
Guardiola insisted it was his responsibility, rather than the players, to solve their issues with City taking just 12 points from their opening eight matches, winning just three and losing twice.
“I never said it was the responsibility of the players, it's my responsibility as a manager to lift them and to give them everything that's possible,” he said.
“Never in my career of 12 years have I complained or pointed at someone that everything is going to solve. I love having Sergio back, I love having Gabriel [Jesus] back, but they are not going to solve all the situations.
“We scored in two seasons, more than 100 goals and 80 or 90 per cent of the players are the same, especially up front.
“Maybe we lost Leroy [Sane] but Leroy didn't play much last season because he was injured all season and we still scored 100 goals.
“We are the same but football is like this. Sometimes one season is completely different to another one. We will find a little bit the way to get better.”