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Guardiola keeps cool after Jesus complaint

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Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Pep Guardiola insists he has no problem with Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus being unhappy about his lack of first-team starts.

In a recent interview with a Brazilian TV station, Jesus spoke of his frustration at playing understudy to City’s record goal-scorer Sergio Aguero.

Jesus has started just one Premier League game this season, while Aguero has scored in all six league games so far.

The Brazilian has three goals in his five appearances, with his other starts coming in the Champions League and League Cup.

But despite scoring in the 3-0 League Cup win at Preston on Tuesday, City will likely revert to Aguero for the Premier League match at Everton on Saturday.

It is a problem every other manager would like and Guardiola admits he understands Jesus’s point of view about his relative lack of game-time.

“No player will be happy when he doesn’t play regularly. Gabriel is happy when he plays and not happy when he doesn’t, but it’s not just him,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

“Him and Sergio have different qualities. Sergio is one of the most outstanding players I’ve seen in small spaces.

“I try to let them both play as much as possible. They each have little details that make the difference.

“Sergio could have scored five goals against Watford. Gabriel could have scored three or four against Preston in the Carabao Cup.”

Jesus has scored 48 goals in 106 games for City, while Aguero has 239 from his 344 appearances.

Yet Guardiola does not believe that as a pair as they do not suit his favoured 4-3-3 formation.

“Normally I don’t play with two strikers. We did it in the last few minutes at Norwich and it was not good. Our control was not the best and we were not solid enough,” he said.

“It’s so difficult for me. In some games Gabriel gives me something Sergio cannot. And the other way around.

“Both guys are incredible. Sergio is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He is so humble for such a top player.

“Of course they are upset if they don’t play. They want to play big Champions League games, quarter-finals, semi-finals.

“But it’s impossible. How can they be happy? I have to choose 11 and all I can say is that I’m sorry.

“The same happens in midfield, with (Ilkay) Gundogan, David Silva, Kevin (De Bruyne), Phil (Foden). We have many games and everyone is necessary.”


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