Pep Guardiola: What Sergio Aguero Must Do to Match Lionel Messi

Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi
Sergio Aguero, left, and Lionel Messi train, Foxborough, Massachusetts, June 18. Pep Guardiola believes Aguero can be as good as Messi. NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Sergio Aguero is capable of matching the quality of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi—but says he must share that same belief.

A prolific start to life under Guardiola saw Aguero score 11 goals in six games at the start of the season for City, but then the Argentinian went as many games without finding the net.

Saturday saw Aguero return to scoring form with two goals against West Bromwich Albion in a 4-0 win, and Guardiola says his striker must have faith that he can be the world's best.

"He is one of the nicest players I ever trained in my career," Guardiola said. "It is a pleasure for me to work with nice people and Sergio is one of the best ones by far, but to convince him he has to believe how good he is and how we need him."

Having been left out of the team for City's trip to Camp Nou earlier in the month, Guardiola is expected to start Aguero at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday when Barcelona travel to the north-west of England.

"We need him," the Spaniard said. "Without him we cannot achieve our target, it is impossible."

City sits second in group C, five points behind Barcelona and with Borussia Monchengladbach a point behind.