Pep Guardiola has ruled out making additions to the Manchester City attack in the January transfer window.
The City boss admits his side have missed record goalscorer Sergio Aguero but is convinced they have enough quality in the forward positions.
City have hit form in recent weeks, largely without the presence of a recognised striker.
Aguero has started just three games this season due to knee and hamstring injuries and he is currently self-isolating after being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
To compound matters, City’s only other senior centre forward Gabriel Jesus has also had time out with injury and coronavirus.
That has forced Guardiola to try other options such as deploying Kevin De Bruyne or Raheem Sterling as a ‘false nine’ or asking winger Ferran Torres to play as a striker.
As City chase the Premier League title – and success in three cup competitions – now might be a good time to strengthen but Guardiola insists he is happy with the choices he has.
Asked if there would be any signings this month, he gave a blunt “no” at a press conference on Tuesday. He was slightly more forthcoming in a TV interview.
“We will not sign any deal during the winter transfer market,” he told beIN Sports. “We will end the season with the players that we have now.”
Aguero had been on the brink of returning to the starting line-up when he was told to isolate. He remains unavailable for Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola said: “We need Aguero, we miss him. He is absolutely the best striker in our history. But for a long time he has not been with us. We could have started complaining but we did completely the opposite.
“We want him back as soon as possible but at the same time we have to move forward with the quality of players that we have, find alternatives.”
While City may have looked light up front, they have been outstanding at the back. In 25 games since a 5-2 thrashing by Leicester in September, they have conceded just nine goals.
Defence was an area of weakness last season but new signing Ruben Dias has been impressive and John Stones has enjoyed a resurgence.
Guardiola said: “We have not conceded many chances similar to last season. The difference is that we didn’t make mistakes like we did in the past.”
Stones’ form has led to talk of an England recall but Guardiola says the 26-year-old still has work to do.
“Consistency must be for a long career, not just for a short time,” Guardiola said. “He has to continue to be consistent in his life and take care of his body – but not just John, everyone.”
Aymeric Laporte has missed out, first losing his place to Stones and then suffering injury, but the Frenchman could be available for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Cheltenham.
Guardiola has challenged him to win back his place.
“He’s the best left-sided defender, he has special quality with the ball,” Guardiola said.
“He has to be focused to come back in the best condition possible and he will get his minutes. After, it depends on performance and on the form of everyone.”
Villa’s form is unknown as they head to the Etihad. Aside from fielding a youthful side in an FA Cup tie, Villa have not played since New Year’s Day due to the Covid-19 outbreak at the club.
Guardiola is preparing as if they will be at full strength.
He said: “We expect the best. We don’t know which players will be available but the quality they’ve shown this season, compared to last season, is incredible.”