Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he is confident Sergio Aguero will be back to his best once he has fully recovered from his knee injury.
The Argentina forward has been ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League match with Fulham at the Etihad Stadium.
It means Aguero will have played in only four of City’s last 29 games since he suffered the injury against Burnley on 22 June.
“When he is fit, he’ll be the same player,” said the City boss.
Concerns have been raised about the 32-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
“Of course age is age and the physicality is different,” Guardiola added. “He will need a bit more time than [Phil] Foden or Raheem [Sterling]. But I’m optimistic he will help us this season.
“What Sergio needs is for there to be no pain in the knee. Today he feels much better. With one or two weeks training in normal conditions he will come back.
“I want him back as soon as possible. His sense of goal is unique. We are already five or six months without him, that’s a long time.”
Fulham head coach Scott Parker has a fully-fit squad aside from long-term absentee Kenny Tete.
Defender Tosin Adarabioyo, who signed from Manchester City in September, is set to feature against his former club.
Fulham got a really good win against Leicester - they played very, very well.
Scott Parker’s side are easy on the eye and that’s a big tick for him. However, I don’t think they’ll have much of the ball against Manchester City.
The Cottagers aren’t ones to park the bus in front of teams, but the only chance they have against Pep Guardiola’s side is by having possession because they’re not very good at the back.
It’s also worth remembering that City have won their past nine matches against Fulham and scored a hatful of goals in the process.
I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘free fixture’ but if Fulham get beaten 3-0 or 4-0 it won’t raise eyebrows.
- Manchester City have won their past nine games against Fulham in all competitions by an aggregate score of 27-3.
- Fulham are on a 15-match winless run against City in league and cup (D3, L12).
- The Whites have gone seven hours and 51 minutes without a goal against City in all competitions.
- The sides met in the FA Cup fourth round at Etihad Stadium in January, with City winning 4-0.
- Manchester City’s tally of 15 points after nine fixtures is their lowest since 2008-09, when they had 13.
- They are looking to win successive league games for the first time since a six-match sequence between July and September.
- The five goals they scored against Burnley last weekend was as many as in their previous six league fixtures.
- City are unbeaten in their last 39 Premier League home games against promoted opposition (W35, D4).
- Riyad Mahrez, with four league goals, is the only player to score more than twice in the top flight for City this term.
- If selected, Phil Foden will be making his 50 Premier League appearance. Only two other City players have reached that landmark before their 21st birthday,
- Fulham have won two of their past four league matches. They had previously taken just one point from their opening six games.
- The Cottagers are attempting successive Premier League away victories for the first time since August 2013.
- Scott Parker’s side have seven points after 10 games, which is two more than they had at the same stage of their previous Premier League season in 2018-19.
- They have lost 27 of their past 28 Premier League fixtures against the established top-six teams, drawing the other at Manchester United in February 2014.
- Fulham have conceded a league-high 19 goals.
- They have been awarded five league penalties this season, second only to Leicester’s tally of eight.