Aguero tells City to have no fear of Stoke
Sergio Aguero insists Manchester City should not be intimidated by their trip to Stoke as they look to return to the top of the Premier League table.Sergio Aguero insists Manchester City should not be intimidated by their trip to Stoke as they look to return to the top of the Premier League table.
Tony Pulis's Stoke side have enjoyed a fearsome reputation at the Britannia Stadium since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2008.
City have collected just two points from their three Premier League trips to Stoke and were also knocked out of the FA Cup there in 2010.
Roberto Mancini's men were also beaten in their last away match, at Swansea, and lost top spot in the league for the first time since October.
But they closed the gap to current leaders Manchester United, the reigning champions to just a point with their 2-1 victory over Chelsea in midweek.
And a win at Stoke would take City two points clear, with United having to wait until Monday for their home match against Fulham.
Sergio Aguero. Pic/AFP
Argentina forward Aguero scored his 24th goal since arriving at City from Atletico Madrid in pre-season during the win over Chelsea.
And he has called on his team to show plenty of mental strength to dictate the game at the Britannia Stadium.
"People have told me what sort of challenge we'll have at Stoke," Aguero said. "I've heard they're a tough side to play against, particularly on their own patch but we've got to go there without any fear whatsoever, impose ourselves on Stoke.
"They're a good side and everything, but we're better than a lot of sides in this league and we have to go there and earn the right to play well, impose our own style and make sure we show the real Manchester City."
Carlos Tevez, after returning to Argentina for three months without permission following a fall-out with Mancini, made his first City appearance in almost six months against Chelsea.
He laid on the winning goal for Samir Nasri and Aguero hopes Tevez can make the difference in the title race.
"It's good to have Carlos back," said Aguero. "He played a vital role in the second goal and let's hope he can do a few more moves like that before the end of the season in the games that remain.
"It's great that he's Argentinian as well but I get on with all the lads, wherever they come from.
"I've been very, very happy since the day that I got here. The club and the people around the club have treated me really, really well.
"It's nice that I've got a good relationship with the fans and hopefully I can repay their support by putting in good performances from now until the end of the season and for many years to come."
Mancini is hoping his first-choice centre-back partnership of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott will return from respective calf and groin problems.
Meanwhile Robert Huth is on a mission to help Stoke recover from their FA Cup frustration by securing a top-10 spot.
Stoke's best placing in the Premier League is 11th in the 2009/10 campaign and Huth is determined the Potters, who lost away to Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend, secure their first ever finish in the top half.
"We want to improve our position from last season and we're not quite there yet," said Germany international defender Huth.
"We need a few more wins but the gap between us and the relegation zone is getting bigger.
"You look ahead at the games and think you can draw one there, and win one but it never happens like that. But we've had two wins from three games, so now we can look ahead.
"First of all we want to stay in the league and then the aim is to get into the top 10."