MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola understands Sergio Aguero's frustration after the Manchester City striker was substituted early in the second half of the 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
The Argentine was taken off in the 56th minute, with the score still 1-0, and threw his gloves to the floor, ignoring the City boss as he returned to the dugout.
Guardiola insisted he can understand Aguero's disappointment and said Gabriel Jesus, who subsequently missed a penalty, was also upset not to start.
"That's normal," Guardiola told a news conference, when asked about Aguero's reaction. "The players want to play and I can understand him.
"He wants to play, he's a top player but in that moment I needed a little more energy with Gabriel in that position that's why I took that decision.
"Always I don't want to hurt the players, believe me. I understand them because I was a football player. They want to play but I have to take the decisions.
"Before the game I thought the best option was Sergio and I said that to Gabriel and he was sad and upset."
Guardiola has rotated his team throughout the season but has largely gone with the same nucleus of players in the Premier League.
Ilkay Gundogan, who scored the opener was making just his second league start, while new signing Danilo has just started five games and Bernardo Silva four with Yaya Toure yet to make any starts.
"It's never personal because I trust the guys a lot," Guardiola added. "I don't want to offend the players.
"For me, it breaks my heart when Danilo, Bernardo, Yaya and the other players cannot play. Always that breaks my heart because they deserve [to play] but it is what it is. There's no other choice."
City's victory over Maurico Pochettino's side maintained their 11-point lead at the top of the table and stretched the gap to 21 points over Spurs, who finished second last season.
Guardiola failed to beat Tottenham home or away in his first campaign but the Catalan said the 3-0 victory in a preseason friendly in Nashville in July had been a key moment in the belief of his squad.
"We created eight, nine or 10 chances to score -- we missed a lot -- but the players saw that is the way we have to do it," he said.
"Since then we maintained that level -- with up and downs of course -- that started with Tottenham in preseason.
"We spoke in preseason about meeting big teams, there's no points but we have to play like an official game and we did and maintained that level for three or four months and that is why we are so happy."