Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero expects incoming manager Pep Guardiola to be a hard task master who will extract the best out of a side who have shone domestically but struggled against Europe's elite.
City completed a mixed campaign on Sunday with a 1-1 draw at Swansea City to finish fourth in the Premier League, but they did reach the Uefa Champions League semi-finals for the first time and beat Liverpool on penalties to lift the League Cup.
Guardiola is regarded as one of the world’s most highly-rated managers after claiming 20 trophies during his spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and will take over at City from departing boss Manuel Pellegrini on July 1.
Under Pellegrini, City won their second Premier League title in three years in 2014 but the Chilean failed to build on that success and the club’s wealthy owners will be hoping Guardiola can take them to the next level.
“[Barcelona forward and fellow Argentine Lionel Messi] has told me he is very impressive and other players with whom I have spoken have said the same,” Aguero told British media of the Spaniard.
“I think he is a coach who will put a lot of pressure on the players and we need that.
“There is a reason that the club invests in important players and then a coach is very important. We hope that Pep adapts to the club and decides how we are going to play. But it is fundamental that next year we advance a bit more.”
City were knocked out of the Champions League by 10-time winners Real Madrid and Aguero acknowledged that while the side were making progress, they were still finding their way in Europe’s elite club competition.
“We knew we had a great team but not good enough to earn [a win in the] semi-finals,” the Argentina international said. “But we didn’t earn the classification and we knew it was an important step to make it to the semi-finals to get an idea of what we will experience next year. City is a great team but not up to the level of winning the Champions League.”
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport