Mauricio Pochettino insists he is fully up to speed with the talents of Manchester City newboy Gabriel Jesus ahead of Tottenham’s trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
City formally announced their acquisition of the 19-year-old Brazil forward on Thursday, having signed him from Palmeiras last August before Jesus concluded a title-winning campaign in his homeland.
On the back of last weekend’s chastening 4-0 loss at Everton, Jesus could provide a much-needed boost for Pep Guardiola’s men, who are fifth in the table and three points behind Pochettino’s in-form Spurs in second.
“I know him very well because I saw him play for his national team in Brazil,” the former Argentina international told a pre-match news conference.
“He can play like a second striker. He is a very young, very talented player with potential. Maybe he will be on the pitch or the bench, I don’t know.
“He’s 19 years old, we need to wait. Maybe he can play.
“Today’s it’s not too difficult to have idea because today with [the] internet and games [being broadcast] you can find information quick.”
Jesus enters the City squad at a time when his coach’s capacity to deal with the demands of the Premier League is increasingly coming under question but Pochettino – who faced off against Guardiola on the other side of Barcelona’s divide when in charge of Espanyol – believes his opposite number remains among the very best in the game.
“I think be careful because they are only three points behind us and they are in the Champions League and in one cup,” he said.
“There are a lot of games and competition ahead. I think it is normal the expectation was massive and big but we need to be calm.
“Always the judgement is at the end. It is impossible now to judge their performance after half a season. And because I know Guardiola very well – he is a great manager, one of the best – you can expect different things.
“You know that when you arrive to a new club and a different philosophy you have to adapt your values and your principles to a new culture. I have not changed my opinion of him.”
Spurs are aiming to collect a seventh consecutive Premier League win and Pochettino reflected with pride upon the altered horizons at White Hart Lane.
“It would be a fantastic achievement,” he said. “I would feel more proud of our players because they deserve the full credit for what has happened here.
“It is difficult to be patient to arr
ive and compete for big things. It is true that we started from the bottom to build a new philosophy and culture and it is true that now we are in a very good way.
“Our objective and our challenge is to fight for big, big things.”
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