Mancini: Aguero can hit 30

Signed in the summer for a club record £38million, Aguero has

taken no time to adjust to Premier League life. The Argentina star

bagged two more goals in Wednesday night’s win over Stoke to take

his overall tally to 15, 13 of which have come during City’s surge

to the Premier League summit. However, Mancini doesn’t want the

23-year-old former Atletico Madrid man to stop now. With Manchester

United just two points adrift of their neighbours heading into the

Christmas programme, Mancini wants Aguero to lead City’s striking

team to even greater achievements. “I hope Sergio can score 30

goals,” said the Blues boss. “It is the same for Edin (Dzeko) and

Mario (Balotelli). If they scored 50 goals between them it would be

good for us.” Although it was generally acknowledged across Europe

that Aguero was a player of exceptional talent, he could hardly

have been expected to open his City career in such prolific

fashion. He joined the club at the end of July, when he came off

the back of an arduous and unsuccessful Copa America campaign with

Argentina. Normally, players who have taken part in the South

American championship either start slowly due to their lack of a

pre-season programme, or flag after a couple of months because of

tiredness. Aguero has so far avoided both problems. “Sergio is very

strong physically,” said Mancini. “He is not tall but his strength

is amazing. “Also, he has always scored goals in every

championship. For this reason I don’t think he has had any

problems. “He is still only young and maybe now his value is even

more because he has scored 15 goals in three or four months. “He

has the confidence to score even more but what is important at the

moment is that he has improved our team.” There is little doubt

Mancini would want Aguero in his side for the major matches against

Liverpool, all three of them, Manchester United and Tottenham in

January. It is therefore quite possible the striker will be rested

for either the Boxing Day trip to West Brom and the New Year’s Day

excursion to Sunderland. That would require Dzeko to recover from

the ankle injury that kept him out of the Stoke win though. Micah

Richards is City’s other minor fitness doubt ahead of Monday’s

encounter at The Hawthorns. That game brings Mancini together with

Roy Hodgson, whom he encountered during the Englishman’s two spells

in charge of Inter Milan. “Roy is a fantastic manager,” said

Mancini. “He knows all about football. He has managed a national

team, he has managed in Italy and England, and has very strong

experiences.” Hodgson was credited with keeping West Brom in the

Premier League last term following an ill-fated short stint at

Liverpool. And, whilst the Baggies have struggled at times this

year, successive away wins have got them moving in the right

direction again. “I always enjoy it at West Brom because the crowd

is so passionate,” said Mancini. “They are a good team, who have

just won their last two games away from him. “If we want to win

there we need to play very well.”