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Sergio Aguero.

Jose Mourinho makes surprising claim about Sergio Aguero ban

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Ask virtually any football fan about Sergio Aguero's absence from tomorrow's Manchester derby and 99.9 percent of them would argue it gives the red half of the city an advantage come kick off.

Jose Mourinho, however, is apparently in the minority with his views on what the Argentinian striker's suspension means for the biggest game of the Premier League season so far.

That's after the United boss claimed that the task of beating Pep Guardiola's City team has actually been made more difficult because Aguero won't be on the pitch at Old Trafford.

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"He doesn't play and they have amazing options," Mourinho explained in his Friday afternoon press conference ahead of the derby, via the BBC.

"It is more difficult. When Sergio Aguero is available he plays, we know their formation."

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The Portuguese boss went on to explain that his United team must find a way "to reduce the unpredictability" that comes with not knowing whether Guardiola will deploy Kelechi Iheanacho up top, or potentially play Raheem Sterling or David Silva in a false nine role.

It is an interesting point raised by Mourinho because, with Aguero undoubtedly City's number one striker, he would definitely have started tomorrow had he not swung his elbow at West Ham's Winston Reid.

Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League

Now, the likes of Daley Blind and Eric Bailly will have to have been prepared for several different scenarios that could play out in the afternoon kick off.

Having said that, there is nobody in the City ranks who can totally replace the threat posed by Aguero. The 28-year-old is never far away from finding the net and, having scored three goals in three Premier League fixtures this season, he is in fine form.

In reality, Mourinho's comments today are surely just the latest example of his savvy mind games ahead of the biggest game of his United tenure to date.

While he might secretly think that Aguero's suspension hands his team a great opportunity, he was never going to admit it on the eve of the game just in case the Argentinian's replacement ends up being the hero.

Hull City v Manchester United - Premier League

It will certainly be interesting to see how Guardiola sets up his City team without Aguero, but the prospect of Iheanacho in the starting line up would still cause the Red Devils problems.

The Nigerian teenager has an incredible goals-to-games record in his short career at the Etihad so far, and scored a spectacular goal whilst on international duty this week.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Football
Premier League
Raheem Sterling
Juan Mata
Manchester City
Sergio Aguero

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