Guardi­ola’s faith in Je­sus gets re­ward to put City back on top

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - ANDY HAMPSON

PEP GUARDI­OLA was pleased to see Gabriel Je­sus back on the score­sheet af­ter the Brazil­ian’s dou­ble helped Manch­ester City to a 3-1 win over Ever­ton. Je­sus’ goals were his first in the Premier League since Au­gust and laid the plat­form for a City vic­tory that took the cham­pi­ons back to the top of the ta­ble.

The 21-year-old has strug­gled for form this sea­son but man­ager Guardi­ola showed faith in him for the visit of the Tof­fees by start­ing him ahead of the fita­gain Ser­gio Aguero.

Guardi­ola said: “It is so im­por­tant for him — strik­ers need to score goals. What he has done to­day, he has done in other games but the dif­fer­ence is he has scored goals. He has done it in a fan­tas­tic way. It was so valu­able, his per­for­mance.”

Je­sus’ goals fired City into a 2-0 lead and Ra­heem Ster­ling added their third af­ter Do­minic Calvert-Lewin briefly gave Ever­ton hope. Guardi­ola said: “It was a tricky game af­ter the Cham­pi­ons League, less than three days’ re­cov­ery.

“They were able to draw at Stam­ford Bridge and at An­field — un­til the last sec­ond. They are a top side, not just the 11 that started. To­day it was in our minds we were go­ing to suf­fer and so we did. The game was not over un­til the end.”

City also wel­comed back play­maker Kevin De Bruyne as a 75th-minute sub­sti­tute af­ter a six-week lay-off with his sec­ond knee in­jury of the sea­son. With a busy sched­ule in the com­ing weeks, Guardi­ola was pleased have him back.

He said: “With this amount of games we need ev­ery­body. Hope­fully Danilo is com­ing back too and Ser­gio.”

Ever­ton made City work hard at times and fin­ished strongly, but man­ager Marco Silva ac­cepted the bet­ter side came out on top.

“City de­served the three points,” said Silva. “They were more ef­fec­tive than us. The chances they cre­ated, they scored, and be­cause of that they de­served the points. Un­til they scored the first goal the game was within what we ex­pected and planned. They did not shoot once.

“The big­gest chance un­til that mo­ment was Richarli­son’s chance — a big, big chance — but af­ter that it changed. We knew they had the qual­ity to com­mand the match.”

Richarli­son volleyed over in the open­ing min­utes and the Merseysiders failed to take ad­van­tage of some other good op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Silva said: “When you have chances like Richarli­son, Richarli­son again, Theo (Wal­cott) and Do­minic, you have to score.”

Photo: Alex Livesey

Manch­ester City striker Gabriel Je­sus cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing his team’s first goal dur­ing the vic­tory over Ever­ton at Eti­had Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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