Despite his future being firmly up in the air Aguero was handed a start against Bournemouth and he repaid his manager’s faith scoring twice as the runaway league leaders passed 100 goals in 2017 to extend their record-breaking winning streak to 17 matches.
With City still alive in four competitions Guardiola afterwards defended his right to shuffle his pack even if that means the club’s record goalscorer misses out.
“I was a player and I understand the players are subbed, they are sad, our job is to try to search something to make us win,” he said. “I try to have the best relations as possible, we are together and I understand when they are upset but sometimes I think Jesus deserves to play too.
“I understand it. The important is the respect between each other. Aguero is a special player, a legend and I am so happy when he plays good and he is scoring goals.
“I know the players who normally don’t play are upset, but all the team deserve to play.”
Raheem Sterling scored the 16th goal of a breakout season and Guardiola was effusive in his praise for a player he believes is finally finding his feet at the Etihad.
“With and without the ball he’s so aggressive and so intense, I like how clear it’s becoming, he knows when to dribble and when to pass, before there was a mistake, now he’s enjoying scoring goals, in the past it was a bit scary for him,” he added.
“He’s loved in the locker room, he’s a young player and important for the national team. He must maintain that level.”
Eddie Howe, whose side are now without a win in seven and will head into Christmas in the bottom three, believes the second goal, scored by Sterling, was the game’s decisive moment.
“City are an outstanding team, very difficult to play against, we came with a game plan to to stay in the game then maybe have a go,” he said. “For long periods we were good, the goal came from our mistake which was disappointing but the rest of the half was ok. The second goal was the killer, we had another go but it was difficult.”