Gabriel Jesus returns to Southampton – the scene of his greatest Manchester City triumph – in a slump with Sergio Aguero injured… but Pep Guardiola backs Brazilian to replace club legend
- Manchester City travel to Southampton on Sunday in the Premier League
- Striker Gabriel Jesus has very fond memories of St Mary’s playing for City
- Jesus has endured a difficult time since the Premier League’s restart
- TV pundit Roy Keane believes Jesus is not a good replacement for Aguero
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus returns to the scene of his greatest triumph hoping it will bring a change of fortune in his ongoing struggle to fill the boots of Sergio Aguero.
Jesus is the one City player to have endured a difficult return to Project Restart and goes to Southampton on Sunday without a goal in eight matches as City’s record marksman recovers from knee surgery.
Outspoken TV pundit Roy Keane said after the Brazilian was taken off against Liverpool on Thursday: ‘I don’t think he’s the answer. He’s a talented boy but replacing Aguero, not for me.’
Gabriel Jesus returns to Southampton in a slump as Manchester City close in on seasons end
Jesus was the hero at St Mary’s in 2018 as his goal saw City claim 100 Premier League points
Guardiola needs the 23-year-old firing again with Aguero’s injury leaving him the only senior centre-forward at the club in their pursuit of the Champions League and FA Cup.
And at least returning to St Mary’s should bring happy memories for Jesus whose late winner there in 2018 took City to a hundred points and has been immortalised in a mural outside The Etihad.
Guardiola has been quick to put his arm around the Jesus’s shoulder insisting he has different qualities to City’s Argentine legend.
‘No one can compare with Sergio and what he has done in his career,’ says Guardiola.
City’s first-choice striker Sergio Aguero is still recovering from knee surgery
TV pundit Roy Keane believes Jesus is not a good enough replacement for the Argentine
‘Gabriel is perfect for me and the team because he is complementary to Sergio. What one guy has the other struggles, and vice-versa.
‘Gabriel has something unique in the world. He is a fighter and helps us to be more aggressive. I remember the goals we have scored in the last four or five games that are thanks to him.
‘He is something special for us but it’s unfair to compare me with another manager, or compare players. Every one is different and what we have to do is adapt his qualities for the benefit for him and the team.’
City will be playing their sixth match in 18 days since beating Arsenal on the opening night of post-lockdown football.
Man City manager Pep Guardiola has backed the Brazilian as a ‘special’ player for his team
Guardiola’s policy of not over-training his players looks to have worked with City winning every game bar one so far and avoiding injuries, apart from Aguero.
‘We didn’t work much after the lockdown. We only trained one session a day because we didn’t want to get injured. You don’t know what the reaction will be after being on the sofa a long time, playing PlayStation.
‘But from the first moment we started to train, I didn’t have any doubts about the desire and willing. I had no doubts we’d be the same team we have been in the last years.’
De Bruyne has been the stand-out player in the whole league since the resumption and looks certain to take on the captain’s armband full-time once David Silva leaves at the end of the season.