‘When you play badly and you lose, they kill you’ – Guardiola

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The Manchester City boss says players are always subjected to fierce criticism in their own countries when they perform below expectations.

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the criticism Sergio Aguero has received this week is nothing out of the ordinary.

Aguero says he would not be surprised if he is left out of the next Argentina squad after missing a penalty in his country’s 1-0 home defeat by Paraguay in the World Cup qualifiers this week.

The striker does not have the same positive relationship with fans in his homeland as he does in Manchester, and he was fiercely criticised by both supporters and journalists after his latest international performance.

An editorial in one Argentine newspaper even suggested that both Aguero and Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria are only being called up because they are friends with influential captain Lionel Messi.

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But Guardiola says Aguero showed no signs of distress upon his return to Manchester on Thursday, and pointed out that everybody is at risk of being “killed”.

“Emotionally he’s fine, he’s very well,” Guardiola insisted. “But you have to know, we are all criticised. An Argentine in Argentina, a Brazilian in Brazil, a Spaniard in Spain, the players across the world and the managers across the world. It can make you stronger, you can put up with it, or else you better find something else to do.

“It’s not exclusive to Sergio, it’s happening to Leo too, with Di Maria, it happens to Dani Alves in Brazil, to Neymar in Brazil, to Raz [Sterling] in England. When you play badly and you lose, they kill you.”

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City face Everton in the Premier League on Saturday and Guardiola hinted he might recall Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Vincent Kompany despite the trip to Barcelona in the Champions League next week.

“They are much, much, much, much better,” he added. “Some will play tomorrow, some won’t. They trained in the last two or three days, but I don’t know how many minutes they can do. We’ll have to think about it in the morning.”

De Bruyne is unlikely to be recalled after suffering a hamstring injury in the victory at Swansea at the end of September, with the game at Camp Nou on Wednesday night a more realistic target.

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Guardiola, though, did state that he never looks beyond the next game when preparing his team.

“Never prioritise,” he added firmly. “Of course when we play League Cup it’s a little bit different but for the other competitions the next one is the most important game.

“I’m going to see how the internationals are physically, their mentality, their mental approach. Some of the players recover quickly, others need more time. Tomorrow is the most important game. I don’t know what’s going to happen against Everton so the approach for the next one is to win tomorrow.”

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