JOE Hart warned the best was yet to come after Sergio Aguero’s four-goal haul helped Manchester City rout ten-man Tottenham 4-1. England goalkeeper Hart saved a Roberto Soldado penalty, which would have made it 2-2, but it was Argentina forward Aguero who stole the show.
Scorers: Manchester City - Agüero 13, 20pen, 68pen, 75; Tottenham Hotspur - Eriksen 15
“We’ve consolidated well,” Hart said. “It was a tough summer, with some of the boys playing in the World Cup final. But I think we’ve done well.
“We’ve got a good understanding of playing under the manager now and we’re picking up results. I don’t think we’ve quite taken off yet. Sergio makes it look good with all the goals, but I think there’s more to come.”
The goals told only part of the story of a breathless encounter which featured four spot-kicks – two of which were saved – countless chances and a red card for Spurs defender Federico Fazio. Aguero missed one of the penalties himself, being denied by Hugo Lloris after he had already struck twice, either side of a Christian Eriksen equaliser.
Aguero said: “I’m very happy. We are really happy. The [man of the match] trophy is for all the team because the team has helped me get the goals.”
Hart praised his team-mate’s contribution on the pitch, and hailed his approach off it too for having tried to conduct his interview in English.
“It’s fantastic – especially with [some of] the boys playing in Hong Kong and Beijing [for friendly internationals] over the past week,” Hart added. “It’s great to have him [Aguero] back.
“He’s a very important character in our dressing room. He does all the important things as well as being a brilliant footballer, so that’s why we’re very lucky to have him.”
Frank Lampard, starting ahead of Yaya Toure, robbed Erik Lamela to set up the first goal, although Aguero still had plenty to do. The Argentinian actually seemed to have few options on the left of the area but opened his body and clipped a superb shot inside the far post.
Spurs produced an immediate response as Ryan Mason robbed Fernando and Soldado released Eriksen to smash a powerful shot in, off Hart and then the underside of the crossbar.
But the visitors could not retain parity for long as Lampard exchanged passes with James Milner and then went down under a challenge from Lamela in the area.
Jon Moss had little hesitation in awarding the penalty and Aguero stepped up to fire home his second.Aguero took a second spot-kick after Younes Kaboul felled David Silva but Lloris saved well from Aguero and the striker put the rebound over.
There was another dramatic twist just after the hour as Martin Demichelis was adjudged to have brought down Soldado. But the third penalty awarded became the second one saved as Hart diverted Soldado’s shot with a full-stretch dive.
Fazio was then deemed to have pulled back countryman Aguero off the ball and in front of goal to earn a red card. This time Aguero made no mistake from the spot and he was still far from done, scoring a fourth as he chased down a long ball from Fernandinho and curled it in.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino felt his side were on the wrong end of a few decisions from referee Moss – he labelled the first penalty “ridiculous” – but took positives from the fact his team were in contention until the latter stages.
“For me, it was ridiculous, but we have to accept the decision,” he said of the 20th-minute spot-kick award, which came after Lampard went down under the challenge of Lamela.
On Fazio’s red card, for pulling back countryman Aguero midway through the second half, he added: “My feeling was that it’s not a red card. A lot of things happened today in the game. It’s difficult to analyse.
“We have to take some positives. We were always in the match. But after the penalty (making it 3-1) and the red card it was difficult.”