Guardiola’s faith in Jesus gets reward to put City back on top
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.”
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the victory over Everton at Etihad Stadium yesterday.