Sergio Aguero has opened up on adapting to Pep Guardiola's tactics over the last few years after a difficult first season working together at Manchester City.
During the 2016-17 season – Guardiola's debut campaign in the Premier League – Aguero found his place under threat from new arrival Gabriel Jesus and was habitually rotated. While this could partly be attributed to careful management of his fitness, there were reports that Aguero was unhappy with the situation and Guardiola even admitted at one point that the Argentine striker might leave the club.
Aguero still ended the season as City's top scorer with 33 goals in all competitions and, having decided to stay put, he has earned Guardiola's trust and gradually re-established himself as first choice up front. He has 10 goals in 10 appearances this season and, with 241 in total, is now City's all-time record goalscorer by some distance.
In an interview with France Football this week, Aguero spoke about how, slowly but surely, he has adjusted to Guardiola's methods. "I had to adapt to another way of playing, worrying more about the goal and spending more time in the box," he said.
"Before, I was a free player, in the sense that I did not have a defined position. With Pep, everyone plays a role and must respect his position. Mine is in the axis as the centre-forward. This is the area where I have to find myself.
"The first year [of Guardiola's tenure] was not easy. Gabriel [Jesus] arrived and Pep bet on him. I continued to work and, when Gabriel was injured, I became a regular again and demonstrated that I could play that way. I ended up adapting."
Aguero also suggested that he now has a much better relationship with his manager, saying: "Everything is fine. We talk a lot. We have come to know each other since his arrival and everything is clear between us. I know how he is, and vice versa.
"When he selects me I try to do the best possible because I know that behind me I have Gabriel Jesus, an attacker who responds quickly and scores goals whenever he has the opportunity to be on the pitch. It's probably a big problem for Pep when he has to choose who he will play."
Aguero also reaffirmed that City are desperate for European silverware this season, having crashed out to Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals last term. City were beaten 4-3 at home in the second leg in controversial circumstances, Fernando Llorente scoring a goal which some felt had shades of handball before a late equaliser for Raheem Sterling was ruled offside by VAR.
"We were close to winning the Champions League last season," Aguero said. "We missed the semi-finals for a few reasons, because of a very questionable offside and because we were eliminated by an elbow.
"We have to keep fighting. The home and away matches are complex and there is also a lot of luck in this competition, but we will do everything once again to win it and, God willing, we will achieve big things."