Pep Guardiola expects his Manchester City team to create plenty of goalscoring opportunities for the prolific Sergio Aguero this season.
But the new City manager has made clear he also expects his star striker to pull his weight in other areas of the field.
Aguero continued his fine start to the season with two goals in Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League win at Stoke. The double took his tally to six in three games this term, and that would have been more had he not missed two penalties as well as scoring a hat-trick at Steaua Bucharest last week.
Guardiola said: “From the beginning we spoke with Sergio. He had to know we are here to help him in the way we play, to create as much chances as possible and to have more chances to score goals.
“But he has to help us. It is not enough to receive the ball from his team-mates. He has to help us in the first pressure, running a lot, in the build-up movements.
“When that happens, and you are involved in both the defensive tasks and the offensive, you are more brilliant. You cannot be brilliant with the ball if you disappear when you don’t have the ball. It is impossible.
“Football is a connection between what you have with the ball and without the ball and now Sergio, in the last two games, did it.”
Another player seemingly revelling in life under Guardiola is Raheem Sterling.
The England forward had a difficult first season at the Etihad Stadium after his acrimonious £44million move from Liverpool and he also failed to impress at Euro 2016.
But the 21-year-old has looked a rejuvenated figure in the opening matches of the season.
Team-mate Kevin De Bruyne said: “He’s a great player. I don’t care what people say about him after last year or the Euros – these things happen, footballers have ups and downs. Hopefully he can continue this for us now because he is very dangerous.”
Fan frustration continues to follow Sterling and he was booed by Stoke supporters at the bet365 Stadium at the weekend.
But De Bruyne said: “Obviously he’s been criticised a lot in the last year but the way he’s responding is great.
“I don’t think he’s really bothered about people talking about him. Everywhere he goes in England there are lots of fans of the opposing team shouting at him.
“I don’t know why, because he’s a great English player, they should be supporting him instead of booing him. But that’s the way it goes – the City supporters will cheer him.”