Pep Guardiola is a managerial magician, as his CV proves. But the Spaniard's decision to leave Sergio Aguero out of Manchester City's 4-0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League two weeks ago baffled all.
The Argentina international finished second to Harry Kane in the Premier League scoring charts last season, with 24 goals, but finished top of the pile the campaign before. Aguero's goalscoring ability has never been in question.
However, rumours had circulated over the past week of a falling out between Guardiola and Aguero, but the pair's embrace following Saturday's 4-0 win over West Brom proved otherwise.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
It's not often that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss gets a decision wrong, but even the 45-year-old will readily admit that his omission of the club's top scorer at the Camp Nou was a big mistake.
Guardiola's former club ran riot over his City team, winning 4-0. But the Spaniard, as per the Mirror, admits the Citizen's quest for glory this would be non-existent without Aguero.
“We need him. Without him we cannot achieve our target, it is impossible.” Guardiola admitted.
The Argentine has scored 13 goals in as many games for City this season, with seven of them coming in the league.
But Guardiola's decision to omit Aguero, in what will arguably prove to be one of the club's biggest games of the season, remains to be a bizarre decision - for which the 28-year-old's confidence had suffered.
However, the Argentine quickly rectified his and his club's form, with a first-half brace against West Brom on Saturday - proving to Guardiola just how crucial his own form is to the team and subsequently ending Guardiola's worst run in his managerial career.
Aguero on Messi's level
And Guardiola even believes Aguero's finishing is on the same level of his Argentina teammate Lionel Messi, with whom the Spaniard worked with during his time in charge at Barcelona.
“In the box he is at that level,” Guardiola said, in comparison of the two Argentines. “To convince him, he has to believe how good he is and how we need him. He has to try.
“It is not about how many he scores because we are happy with the scoring. I am talking about he has to feel how important he is for us. When he is happy the team is happy.
“When he is good everything can happen in our team.”
Guardiola requires improvement
Comparisons between the two Argentina stars will be judged on Tuesday, when Barcelona travel to the Etihad for the reverse tie of their group stage fixture, with Guardiola hoping for a vast improvement on their last meeting, two weeks ago.
Aguero has 109 Premier League goals in 158 games for City, and his prolific nature in front of goal will more than likely be the difference between Guardiola winning a debut Premier League title or having to settle for second best.
While the City striker will be pleased to have returned to form in perfect time for Tuesday's Champions League fixture, the club's fans will be just as thankful that speculation of a bust-up between the player and manager have turned out to be false.
Will Sergio Aguero finish as the top scorer in the Premier League this season? Give your opinion in the comment box below.