Later News Aug 22

Guardiola believes in Jesus again, after he inspires Manchester City to romp over Norwich

Gabriel Jesus’ career at Manchester City may just have been resurrected, following a positional change in the team which saw him bag two assists in the Citizens’ 5-0 thrashing of Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium yesterday (SGT).


The Brazilian, who before the game was regarded by many as the backup for a non-existent striker, was fielded on the right-wing against the Canaries instead of his usual position as the focal point of the attack.


That honour instead went to Ferran Torres, while £100m (S$188m) Jack Grealish was deployed on the left to complete Man City’s front-three.


WATCH: Guardiola wants Grealish to match Sterling's goalscoring mentality


It turned out to be a masterstroke, as Norwich – presumably thrown off by the fact that they could no longer count on Jesus to put the ball out for a goalkick – struggled to contain the Man City juggernaut.


Jesus’ impact from the right wing was felt as early as the seventh minute, as his low cross into the box was inadvertently deflected into the back of the net by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul.


About 15 minutes later, the home team doubled their lead, and this time, Jesus took full credit for the assist as his cross from the right found Grealish, who bundled home the ball for his first Man City goal.


Jesus was uninvolved in his team’s third goal, which was scored by defender Aymeric Laporte in the 64th minute after Norwich failed to clear their lines from a corner.


But Jesus was soon at it again, as he crossed for Raheem Sterling to score Man City’s fourth goal of the night in the 71st minute.


Riyad Mahrez put the icing on the cake for Pep Guardiola’s men 13 minutes later, as he coolly slotted home after being set free on goal by Ruben Dias.


Guardiola was keen to praise and give thanks to Jesus after the game, and explained that the 24-year-old was more comfortable playing on the flank where he can send crosses in – which, to nobody’s surprise, is something of a specialty for him.


WATCH: Jesus' Premier League goals in the 2020/2021 season


“He (Jesus) is a player who likes to play wider than central positions,” said Guardiola. “One of the reasons why I am a manager in the best moments of my career is because you can work with people like Gabriel.


“Some players when they get the ball in more wide positions, their body shape is more open and they have more time to make the right decision. When you play central, it is more difficult to get good balls playing so central.


“Gabriel is better getting balls wider. We had to use Gabriel (centrally) when Sergio was injured. We were lucky Ferran played there, and…always when he plays there, he has an incredible sense of finishing.”


Guardiola also refuted the widespread rumours that Jesus was on the transfer list at Man City, and declared himself pleased with the player and his contribution to the team.


WATCH: Gabriel Jesus' journey from Palmeiras to Man City


“If I should answer all the rumours in the media, we will need five press conferences. He is so important for me…the more players you have in these positions, the better your team. He deserves to continue playing,” Guardiola gushed.


“He never complains. If he plays five minutes, he plays the best five minutes he can do. Play right he is happy, play central he is happy, play left he is happy. The combination with Kyle (Walker) was exceptional. An incredibly important performance for us. I am so happy for Gabriel.”




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