Champions League news

Aguero travels for City's Madrid trip

September 17, 2012
By ESPN staff and David Instone

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could make his return in Tuesday's Champions League Group D match at Real Madrid after a month out with a knee ligament injury.

Sergio Aguero fell under the challenge of Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne
PA PhotosSergio Aguero fell under the challenge of Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne

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Aguero, City's 30-goal top scorer last term, has been sidelined since the opening weekend of the season but has trained for the past three days.

Manager Roberto Mancini will make a late call on the fitness of the former Atletico Madrid striker after deciding against using him in Saturday's draw at Stoke.

"I think he can have a chance," Mancini said. "Sergio will travel with us. He worked with the team in the last three days before the Stoke game. We didn't want to take any risks with him - but maybe he can be ready for Madrid.

"Will he start? I don't know."

City also have Gareth Barry available following his return as a substitute in the Stoke game; Javi Garcia, who caught the eye at the Britannia Stadium, is another option for the defensive midfield role.

"I'm happy for Gareth after three months to play again," Mancini said. "It's important for us because he's an important player and he had 30 minutes and did well.

"Gareth can do this job - Javi, Jack [Rodwell] also - but we have our style. We try to play football, always. We played [at Stoke] without David [Silva] because he was so tired after the international break. After an international break, it's always difficult."

Meanwhile, Mancini believes City are improving defensively as they prepare for to face Real at the Bernabeu.

City are still seeking their first clean sheet of the new season but Mancini feels that - after a 3-2 win over Southampton and a 2-2 draw with Liverpool - the 3-1 win over QPR and 1-1 draw at Stoke indicate things are getting better.

"I think we've improved in the last two games because we've only conceded one goal," he said. "In the first two games, we conceded two goals. Now is the time not to concede any goals.

"This is the first game in the Champions League for us this year and I think it will be a fantastic game, a fantastic for moment for everyone at the club."

As well as Real Madrid, City have been drawn against Ajax and Borussia Dortmund. Having failed to negotiate a group including Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal last season, it is likely to pose Mancini's men significant problems.

"The group stage is difficult, like last year. We start again on a difficult pitch against a top team, and we should be ready for it to be very difficult. They have fantastic players, fantastic history and, for these reasons, if we want to do well there, we should play very, very well."