Manchester City can “deal with” Real Madrid without Sergio Aguero, says Ilkay Gundogan, who has challenged his team-mates to “step up”.
Aguero is currently in the middle of a rehabilitation programme as he continues to recover from surgery on the knee injury he picked up during City’s 5-0 win over Burnley on June 22.
The Argentine striker has already returned to the gym for light individual training, but Pep Guardiola has confirmed that he will be unavailable for next month’s crucial showdown with Madrid at Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola opted to start Jesus ahead of Aguero in the Spanish capital, a risk which paid off as Madrid struggled to cope with City’s high-intensity approach in and out of possession.
The Brazilian could be asked to lead the line again in the return, but Gundogan also believes a positive result can be achieved with a false nine.
Although the Germany international admits that Aguero’s presence will be missed, he is confident that City have enough strength in depth to reach the quarter-finals on August 7.
“It is definitely disappointing to not have Sergio available,” Gundogan told the club’s official website.
“We wish him a speedy recovery and to have him back as soon as possible, because he is such an important player for us.
“We have to deal with injuries, as we did in the season with Aymeric [Laporte] not being available. We have to do the same now with Sergio’s situation. I am sure we will be able to do that.
“Other players will have to step up. We have Gabby [Jesus], who is an amazing player, but we also have different players who can play as a false nine.
“I am sure we will be able to deal with it, but of course, we will miss him.”