Pep Guardiola admits there is no magic solution to Manchester City’s struggles in front of goal, calling on his players to be more aggressive.
City’s lack of cutting edge proved costly again on Tuesday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling West Brom despite having 26 efforts at goal, albeit only seven of them on target.
That left Guardiola’s men with 18 goals from their opening 12 league fixtures, half the tally of 35 they had at the same stage last season.
They are ninth in the table, already eight points behind leaders Liverpool, though they have a game in hand.
Guardiola said his side must keep attacking and trust that the goals would come.
“We have to insist and insist,” he said.
“There is no other way. If you have 25 shots and that’s not enough you have to create more and one day it is going to break. We have to be aggressive in this area and put more players there.
“When we are able to score goals and win games, confidence will be back. The reality is we scored 40 goals in our first 12 games when we won our first title, 36 in our second and last season 35 in this stage of the season.
“This year we have 18 so we have to score more. This is the reality.”
Injuries have played a role, with both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus spending time on the sidelines, but Guardiola said the responsibility was on the team as a whole.
Aguero, recently sidelined with a knee problem, missed last weekend’s goalless Manchester derby through illness before coming on as a late substitute against West Brom.
But his availability for Saturday’s trip to third-placed Southampton remains uncertain after a fresh setback.
“I don’t know,” Guardiola said when asked to what extent he might feature. “After the game he could not train, yesterday he could not train. He trained today and trained really well but I don’t know how many minutes (he can play).
“It is important he can make training sessions but unfortunately after the game he could not. It was nothing about the knee, it is another area.”