Mancini: Aguero can hit 30-goal mark

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes Sergio Aguero can hit the 30-goal mark this season.

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."