Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will miss Wednesday’s clash with Brighton as he continues his period in self-isolation, manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.
City’s record goalscorer was forced to pull out of Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Birmingham after being identified as a close contact of someone who had tested positive for Covid-19.
It was another setback for the 32-year-old, who himself has tested negative and had been expected to start his first match since October. The Argentinian had gradually been building up his fitness with substitute appearances after knee and hamstring problems.
City have not confirmed when Aguero’s quarantine period began but he also seems likely miss Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace and will be doubtful for the visit of Aston Villa on January 20.
Asked about Aguero at a press conference, Guardiola said: “Quarantine, isolated – the rules. After nine or 10 days he will be back.”
City will at least have forward Raheem Sterling back for the Premier League encounter against Brighton at the Etihad Stadium after a minor knock.
With the three games over the next week all at home, City have a chance to build on their recent momentum and firmly establish themselves in the title picture.
After a sluggish start to the season, City are unbeaten in their last 13 games in all competitions and have won their last six.
Guardiola, however, is refusing to look too far ahead.
He said: “Brighton, I am only concerned about Brighton. The rest – not even one second of my thoughts, only Brighton.
“We cannot forget the teams we beat recently – especially in the Premier League and Carabao Cup, two strong teams away – and we did well, but the momentum here today can disappear tomorrow.
“So we have to do it again to keep our momentum. We are getting results, and that is the most important thing, but especially (pleasing is) the way we are playing.
“The mood is good and we have to continue tomorrow, and after that rest, and then the next one. There is not much time to think about what is going to happen.
“The schedule for January and February is so busy, but it is good to try to do what we have to do again.”
Brighton have not won in eight Premier League games and required a penalty shoot-out to get past Newport in the FA Cup at the weekend.
They remain a side Guardiola admires, however, for the playing style advocated by manager Graham Potter.
Guardiola said: “It is a joy to watch (them), a joy to analyse. When you see them, you are concerned about the quality.
“I said to the players, the first words when we were on the pitch because we cannot be in the meeting rooms, was that we will have to be in the highest standard, the highest level, to compete against them.
“I am a big fan of Graham Potter. I like a lot how they play and it will be a big test for us after this amount of games.”