Pep Guardiola hails 'mentally strong' Gabriel Jesus after West Ham victory

Pep Guardiola gives an unusual analogy for Manchester City's newest star

Pep Guardiola has admitted he was unsure what to expect from Gabriel Jesus after signing the forward, comparing the Brazilian to a watermelon.

The £27m January arrival capped a superb full Premier League debut with his first goal in English football in Manchester City's 4-0 demolition of West Ham at the London Stadium on Wednesday.

Guardiola was asked if Jesus, who also impressed against Crystal Palace in City's FA Cup fourth-round win, had surprised him with his contribution so far.

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"You never know, it's like a watermelon - you have to open and see if it is good or not," Guardiola responded. "The perspective was good. He's a young talent. But he has a huge mentality. He's so aggressive.

"He wants to become a good player. He has dreams and he has things he wants to do in the future in his career. That helps a lot.

"He wants to do something in the world of football and, of course, we are going to try to help him get it for us.

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Highlights from Manchester City's 4-0 win over West Ham

"I think it was a good impact in the first eight minutes against Tottenham, he created two or three chances in those eight minutes.

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"Against Crystal Palace, his first game away experiencing the Premier League, he played quite good.

"With the first assist against Crystal Palace, he gave the ball to Rash [Raheem Sterling]. Today it was to Kevin. After he arrives there, he's a guy who attacks the goal and wants to score goals."

Jesus was preferred in attack to Sergio Aguero, but Guardiola was quick to downplay suggestions the Argentine was now second choice at the Etihad.

"Of course they can play together," Guardiola said. "For us, Sergio remains so important. Everyone knows that we cannot achieve our goals without his contributions.

"I am a guy who likes to involve players as much as possible because with this crazy calendar it is impossible to play with the same players. But I try to be fair."

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Guardiola also opted for Willy Caballero in goal over Claudio Bravo, and the Argentine goalkeeper kept a clean sheet for the second match in succession.

"Today he was the first choice," the City manager continued. "It was not an easy decision.

"But it was still more difficult to leave guys in Manchester. I have 22 or 23 guys and they all deserve to play. It's the toughest decision every game."

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (2R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between
Image: Manchester City scored three first-half goals through Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus

City raced into a three-goal lead before half-time thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Jesus, with Yaya Toure on hand to add their fourth from the penalty spot in the second half.

But, despite the scoreline, Guardiola felt his side were fortunate compared to previous matches.

"We were lucky compared to other games," he added. "The first time we arrived we scored a goal, the second time we arrived we scored a goal. How many times has that not happened? Especially in the opposition box we were strong.

"Of course we are so happy. In the performance we did very good things. In terms of intensity, high pressing and how we controlled the game after 2-0, it was good.

"We controlled the long balls to [Andy] Carroll and [Michail] Antonio. We conceded few set-pieces. We have to try to keep going with this momentum.

"The first 10 to 12 minutes we had a lot of problems. We missed simple balls, we didn't play good and we were lucky.

"In other games we created more and more chances and we played better but didn't get the goal when we arrived. After the goal it helped us a lot."

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