Gabriel Jesus backed by Pep Guardiola for Manchester City's EFL Cup final
Last Updated: 25/02/18 7:08am
Pep Guardiola has no reservations about throwing Gabriel Jesus straight into the EFL Cup final after two months out injured.
Guardiola confirmed both Jesus and Leroy Sane will be fit to face Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Jesus, 20, admitted he dealt with "bad thoughts" during two months out with a knee injury, while Sane has made two brief appearances as he recovers from ankle ligament damage.
"I think they will be ready to play, if I let them," said Guardiola. "They will be fit. Leroy because he is a little bit better and Gabriel because it is mentality.
"He is a young guy and he is strong. He is a guy who will be ready."
Guardiola won a combined 21 trophies while in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and has lost only one of nine finals he has managed in.
He told his Manchester City players to stand up to the occasion in what will be their first final under him.
"In the first finals you are more nervous than the next one," he said. "I try to say to the players, 'Try to play more like in a friendly game, to be more calm'. But also more courage there has to be.
"I think it's a game we have to try to enjoy the most, it's a final. We are here to play these types of game, so why to be nervous? Why worry about the win. It's just a game.
"Have no regrets after the game. It's too late for, 'I didn't do what I should do', because it's a final.
"It's good for our fans and the fans of Arsenal to be there and it's a success already to be there. Now try to win."
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Should City succeed, there will be little time for celebration. The runaway Premier League leaders are back in action against the Gunners again on Thursday and then face Chelsea next weekend.
Asked at his pre-match press conference if he would allow his players a drink if they win, Guardiola said: "I think talking about the celebration before the game is stupid, it makes no sense. Before the celebration, we have to play a game. But normally there is no alcohol."