Saturday, September 19, 2020

Gabriel Jesus is an animal – Guardiola hails frustrated striker

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Sep 2019

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Pep Guardiola has hailed Gabriel Jesus as “an animal” after the Brazil striker expressed frustration at his number of first-team starts for Manchester City.

Jesus made it three goals in as many starts this season when City began their EFL Cup defence with a 3-0 win at Preston North End in midweek, but he is likely to find himself back on the bench against Everton on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero has netted in every Premier League game this season and, although Jesus proclaimed his admiration and respect for City’s all-time leading goalscorer in an interview with Esporte Interativo, the 2017 arrival from Palmeiras stated he was “over the ‘I have to wait’ phase” at the Etihad Stadium.

“He’s passionate. I read that interview and it was perfect,” Guardiola told a pre-match news conference.

“It was incredibly respectful, like Gabriel is. No problem at all. Of course he wants to play. He is the number nine for Brazil.

“I said recently, he is maybe the only striker in the world at this level who has to have this mentality, a friendship with Sergio and all the team-mates.

“Every time he is on the pitch, if he plays one second, two minutes or 90 minutes, he plays like an animal. In every action he does his best.

“Not just Gabriel, all the players want to play all the games. It’s normal. It’s not a problem.”

Teenage centre-backs Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis also impressed at Preston – a timely boost for Guardiola.

City are short of specialist cover in the heart of defence, following to injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones on the back of Vincent Kompany’s departure.

“I knew [they were ready], it was not necessary for them to play against Preston to know it,” Guardiola said.

“Of course they are young, they are going to make mistakes like the old players make mistakes.

“Of course they are ready. They can train with us and play with us. If they were not ready they would not have played against Preston.”

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