Sergio Aguero hit another hat-trick as Pep Guardiola’s superb start at Manchester City continued with an emphatic victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in their Champions League Group C opener.
Aguero followed up his treble against Steaua Bucharest in the play-off round with three more goals as City swept aside the Germans 4-0 in their delayed clash at the Etihad Stadium.
City have now won seven in succession since Guardiola took charge in the summer while Aguero – who will miss the next two matches as he completes a domestic suspension – has scored nine in just five appearances.
Kelechi Iheanacho grabbed the other goal late on as City established themselves as the side most likely to challenge competition favourites Barcelona for top spot in the group.
Guardiola said: “Sergio is one of the best, no doubts about that. He has a special quality in the box. He’s a special player.
“I never won before against this coach and he always creates a lot of problems for my team but we created a really good performance, except for 10-15 minutes in the first half.”
Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice as Barcelona boss and describes the competition as “beautiful” now wants fans to get fully behind the challenge.
City, who reached the semi-finals last season, are playing in the group stage for a sixth successive season but fans’ enthusiasm has remained lukewarm.
PEP: The fans have to know we play for them. It’s our job. We need them in the Champions League to beat the best teams in the world. #mcfc
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 14, 2016
Wednesday’s recorded 30,270 attendance could partly be put down to the rearrangement of the fixture at short notice after Tuesday’s postponement, but was even so well below the 55,000 capacity.
As has become custom, City supporters also booed the Champions League anthem before kick-off in continuing protest at organiser UEFA, with whom they have various issues.
Guardiola feels it is now time to move on.
The Spaniard said: “I was not here for what happened but they must forget what happened in the past. We have to be so proud to play in this competition.
“I am going to work until the last moment to convince the people to come here to join us to see the Champions League games.
“Our players deserve the stadium completely full and hopefully against Barcelona and Celtic it it going to happen.”
Aguero put City ahead after nine minutes and added a second from the penalty spot after impressive debutant Ilkay Gundogan was fouled. He completed his treble 12 minutes from time before Iheanacho rifled in the fourth in injury time.
Borussia coach Andre Schubert said: “We had to get everything right, be very courageous, attack high up with high intensity. We didn’t manage to do that.”