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Aguero blow as Pep and City aim for the top again

Guardiola labels Liverpool an 'incredible team' in title battle

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

PA

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will miss tonight’s clash with Cardiff

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will miss tonight’s clash with Cardiff

REUTERS

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Sergio Aguero will miss Manchester City's clash with Cardiff tonight through injury. 

The Premier League's top scorer with 19 goals this season was substituted with a muscle problem in Saturday's victory over Fulham and will not be risked at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

City hope the Argentinian will be fit to return for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Brighton at Wembley and next week's Champions League quarter-final first-leg at Tottenham.

"He didn't train the last two days (and) tomorrow is not able (to play)," said manager Pep Guardiola. "Hopefully next Saturday, next Wednesday (he can). We will see his evolution in the next days."

Champions City can return to the top of the table with victory over the Bluebirds after Liverpool leapfrogged them on Sunday.

Challenge

The Reds, who have played one game more, beat third-placed Tottenham with a stoppage-time winner at Anfield.

Asked for his reaction to that late Toby Alderweireld own goal, Guardiola said at a press conference: "When you see them you say 'ah s***' but nobody said it would be easy, nobody. We knew it, I knew it.

"It is a better challenge. After a while you say it would be amazing what we are going to live. It is an incredible team to fight against."

City are chasing an unprecedented quadruple this season and, while Guardiola has regularly talked down the prospect of a clean sweep of trophies, he wants to savour the season at every opportunity.

He said: "Everybody is excited for what we are going to live in the next weeks. It is not so complicated to understand that but, at the same time, say 'wow', it is amazing to live this opportunity.

"To beat Cardiff, the main target to come back top of the league with six games left and then after go to Wembley to achieve the one final I never play in my life, and the oldest trophy ever, and then after Champions League.

"We pass tough moments during the season to live that moment and we are fortunate to do it."

Relegation-threatened Cardiff have been cut five points adrift of safety in 18th place but they performed well before being beaten in controversial circumstances by Chelsea at the weekend.

Guardiola said: "We know what we are playing for. It is a final for us every single game.

"Cardiff - what I saw against Chelsea last game - is alive. They have incredible spirit and what they do, they do well. It is not a team that is already done."

Meanwhile, Neil Warnock  Warnock was defiant in his criticism of Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, before Cardiff's visit to City tonight.

"I always thought Mike Riley was a manufactured referee from day one," Warnock said.

"I don't think he's changed since then. He's been coached manufactured, almost like a robot.

"He knows everything about the rules, but I feel these people struggle to understand the game and the human element.

"A lot of referees are like Mike Riley and that's why I think we have gone backwards."

"Common sense thing is not allowed nowadays, but the best refs still use it."