SERGIO Aguero’s absence has inevitably boosted Sunderland’s prospects at Manchester City, believes Gus Poyet.
Manchester City frontman Aguero will miss today’s clash at the Etihad, as he continues his recover from knee ligament damage.
It is one of several injury absentees for City boss Manuel Pellegrini, with Edin Dzeko, Vincent Kompany and probably Yaya Toure also watching from the stands.
But Aguero, in particular, has proved to be a thorn in Sunderland’s side already this season after netting a brace in City’s 4-1 win at the Stadium of Light last month, as the reigning champions produced a devastating comeback from falling a goal behind.
Sunderland boss Poyet said: “I’m realistic and honest; if you’re playing Man City and everyone’s fit, you’ve got a problem.
“If a few players are going to be injured and among them is Aguero, then you’ve got a better chance, without any doubt.
“It’s not being disrespectful to the rest. It’s Aguero. It’s different.
“And if on top of that, there’s Dzeko, Toure, then you can take advantage.
“Definitely they make a difference in that team.
“I’ve been watching (David) Silva since he came back from injury and he’s been outstanding.
“He’s made the difference and scored the goals to win the games.
“That shows you how important it is.
“It’s still difficult of course and it’s still a big challenge, but we need to be good. That’s the main thing.
“You can talk about plan A, plan B, plan C in these games, but at the end of the day, we need to be good on the ball, concentrate, be physically strong and well-organised.
“That’s the minimum to have a chance.”
Sunderland almost did the double over City last season, before Vito Mannone’s late howler at the Etihad denied the Black Cats all three points.
Despite only coming away with a draw – the result which began the Great Escape – it proved to be one of Sunderland’s best performances of the season and Poyet knows they will have to be similarly impressive to come away with anything today.
“Last year, no-one remembers the quantity of chances we had,” added Poyet.
“I remember one from Fabio Borini that on another day he pulls back and we score.
“And then the header from John O’Shea from a couple of yards.
“But then we still scored two. In those terms, we were very, very good.”