Pep Guardiola has thrown Gabriel Jesus a new lifeline at Manchester City following the forward’s scintillating showing against Norwich City on Saturday.
After going down 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend, the pressure was on Manchester City to get things rolling in the Premier League against newly-promoted Norwich.
Well, it’s fair to say that Pep Guardiola’s side lived up to expectations, hammering out-of-sorts visitors 5-0 at the Etihad to kick-start their defending campaign.
Despite failing to hit the net, Gabriel Jesus played a pivotal role in City’s overwhelming victory.
The Brazilian marked his return to the starting line-up with a breathtaking display in front of sold-out Etihad.
He was directly involved in three goals, laying on two assists and forcing Tim Krul’s own goal to open the scoring.
Jesus set up Jack Grealish for the English record signing’s first competitive goal for the Citizens before presenting long-term teammate Raheem Sterling with the cleanest of tap-ins.
Unfortunately, the 24-year-old has often seen the first-team opportunities hard to come by under Guardiola.
Continuously overshadowed by the club record scorer Sergio Aguero, Jesus has spent most of his career at Manchester City as a bit-part player.
His first-team prospects remain in doubt as the Citizens continue to pursue a deal for Tottenham stalwart Harry Kane.
Guardiola has made the Spurs talisman his number one priority, but convincing the London outfit to sanction the deal has been a tricky part thus far.
With Tottenham continuing to play hardball on their captain’s excessive price tag, the Spaniard may have to work with the players he currently has at his disposal.
One of them is Jesus, who has bought himself some credit with an eye-catching performance against Norwich on Saturday.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed as Guardiola rushed to the press to heap praise on his solitary centre-forward option.
“He has so much importance for me. It’s not just when he makes an exceptional performance like today, it’s every day,” he said, as relayed by the Daily Express.
“He deserves to continue playing, when a guy plays in this way he deserves to play again. He is a player who likes to play more wide than central positions. But he never complains.
“He never disrespects his team-mates. 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.“I am very pleased with the performance he has made; an incredibly important player for us.”