Mens Team

Guardiola: Gabriel Jesus ‘one of best signings'

Guardiola: Gabriel Jesus ‘one of best signings'
Pep Guardiola believes Gabriel Jesus is one of City’s best ever signings.

The Brazilian striker netted his 50th City goal on his 110th appearance for the Club in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, as the Champions returned to winning ways in the Premier League.

Aged just 22, the forward has stormed to an impressive 0.45 goal per game ratio of 0.45, whilst also tallying 17 assists, ensuring he has been directly involved in 58 goals in 64 games in all competitions.

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With 21 goals in his last 20 starts, Gabriel Jesus is certainly proving his worth and Guardiola has been delighted with the Brazilian’s contribution and attitude – both on and off the pitch.

“Gabriel was always good from the beginning,” he stated. “Unfortunately, he had two tough injuries and after the World Cup, it was not easy for him.

“He is a strong number 9 of Brazil. The Club bought an incredible young player for an incredible price – one of the best signings.

“When he arrived, he had an incredible impact and then after his injuries.

“He’s good. He fights with Sergio Aguero; Sergio fights with him for one position.

“I’ve said many times: to compete with Sergio is the most difficult thing. Sergio is incredible – a legend; outrageously amazing.

“Sometimes, I need Sergio for many things; sometimes, I need Gabriel. That’s all.

“He is so calm; he’s a competitors and he accepts the decisions. In every training session, he fights like an animal.

“The reason why (I picked Gabriel over Sergio at Crystal Palace) was because I thought Gabriel was in rhythm.

“When you play games with the national team, always you have the pace. Sergio was with Argentina for one week, came back and trained just three or four days. That’s the reason why.

“He is young and he can improve. Like, in the last action he had, he had to pass to Kevin De Bruyne, but he is so young.

“There is more to come – from him and everyone. We cannot play anymore because we are not that age! – but he can play and he will have a long career.

“With his mentality, he will always have success. He is hungry and he wants to become an important striker in the world.

“We are lucky to have him. I like to work with young and old players – all of them.

“I don’t know what will happen (who of Sergio or Gabriel will play) in the next game.”

Guardiola was equally pleased with his defensive charges, who preserved a vital clean sheet.

With key members of the backline sidelined through injury, the manager opted to field midfielders Fernandinho and Rodrigo in central defence – a move which proved successful.

“Because we won, we can do it!” Guardiola joked with journalists. “I said it was an option.

“When Aymeric Laporte and John Stones were out, I said Rodrigo could play there.

“I decided to do it – to have more midfield players on the pitch.

“They can do it. I don’t know what will happen in the future but we have alternatives.

“It was Joao Cancelo’s first game away in the Premier League. It is not the same as playing at the Etihad Stadium.

“He was aggressive and with the ball, he has incredible quality.

Benjamin Mendy as well. He was injured for a long time. Hopefully, he can stay (fit) because he has a special quality.”

Reflecting on City’s crucial win at Palace, Guardiola was pleased with his side’s overall display but hopes to see the Champions rekindle our ruthless streak, as we enter another pivotal period of fixtures.

“We missed a lot of chances in the final third in the box,” he admitted. “We have to be clinical.

“When people say about our Champions League target, we are still not ready.

“We create a lot and we don’t concede but we can improve. Over the last two seasons, we scored a lot of goals. I don’t have doubts about that.

“Crystal Palace have huge quality, especially in their stadium, but they had few chances – apart from the header from Christian Benteke and he is unstoppable in that area. It was an incredible save from Ederson.

“We controlled it. We played really well after the international break and in this stadium. It’s the team we are.

“We have to keep going, working on that.”

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