Manchester City lacking ‘weapon’ like Romelu Lukaku, says Pep Guardiola

Romelu Lukaku will look to boost his goalscoring tally against champions Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City are lacking a goalscoring ‘weapon’ in the mold of Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku this season.

City lost their all-time top goalscorer as Sergio Aguero joined Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer and several high-profile strikers were linked as possible replacements, including Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane.

Kane appeared on the verge of a switch to the Etihad as the transfer deadline approached, but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy dug his heels in and the England captain was forced to stay put in north London.

Though the Premier League champions went on to smash the British transfer record to prise Jack Grealish away from Aston Villa, questions remain over whether they have the firepower up front to ensure a successful season domestically and in Europe.

‘Strikers are strikers. They live a little bit outside the team bubble and for themselves, but these are the most difficult players to take,’ Guardiola told reporters ahead of City’s trip to Stamford Bridge.

‘We had the privilege to have Sergio for many years. Unfortunately for the last year-and-a-half he was out with injuries and we could not use him much. We survived without him in a good way in the way we played.

‘There are two options that we have right now: complaining, or saying we have exceptional players.

‘We don’t have this weapon that others teams have like Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham or other teams so we have to use what we can do as a team.

‘We don’t have a player to score 25 league goals for himself so we have to do it as a team. This is what we will try this season.’

City failed to replace Aguero in the summer (Picture: Getty)

Lukaku has hit the ground running after returning to Chelsea, netting four times in his opening six games, and the Belgian will be determined to increase his goalscoring tally against the champions this weekend.

Guardiola believes Lukaku took his game to another level during his two-year spell with Inter Milan and expects the big centre-forward to play a key role this season.

‘I’m not going to deny what a player Romelu Lukaku is,’ Guardiola added.

‘He was in the Premier League, he made his first step at Chelsea and then especially at Everton he made a step forward under Ronald Koeman and after he went to United.

‘At Inter Milan he took another step. Antonio Conte has the ability to improve every single player that works with him and he came back to the champions of Europe. The team was already so strong and with him is now stronger.

‘How he plays with long balls, how he is supported by the attacking midfielders and wing-backs and with the quality of players they have in the middle to put the balls between the lines.

‘It is a stronger team than last season but this is the challenge. I’m not going to say I’m sad or disappointed for the squad we have.’

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