Friday 28 April 2017

Pep Guardiola sees bright future for Manchester City in young strikeforce

Gabriel Jesus, pictured right, was on the scoresheet on his full debut
Gabriel Jesus, pictured right, was on the scoresheet on his full debut

Pep Guardiola maintains the title is beyond Manchester City this season - but says the future is bright after Gabriel Jesus sparkled against West Ham.

Teenage striker Jesus formed part of a youthful three-pronged attack with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling at the London Stadium.

And with Sergio Aguero watching from the bench, the exciting trio tore the Hammers apart as City ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.

Jesus marked a dazzling display by setting up Kevin De Bruyne's opener and then bagging one himself.

"It was a good impact for a first appearance," said City boss Guardiola.

"You never know. It's like a water melon. You have to open and see it. The prospect was good, a young player with good talent.

"But he's had a good talent, he's so aggressive. He wants to be a good player, and that helps a lot.

"He has dreams about what he wants to do in his future career. He wants to become something in world football, and we're going to try and get it for us.

" These guys are the future of the club. In Europe no one has strikers as young as Manchester City."

David Silva was also on target in a one-sided first half, while Yaya Toure piled on the misery for the hosts with a penalty - won by Sterling - after the break.

A routine victory boosted City's top-four challenge after Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal all dropped points 24 hours earlier - while sixth-placed Manchester United were held on the night.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was in the stands but Guardiola insists the Blues' 10-point advantage over them is too great to overturn.

"He has not to much to worry about. Only Chelsea can lose the Premier League," added the Spaniard.

"Can we put pressure on them? I don't think so. We are not in a position to think about the big goals, 10 points is too much."

Alongside Aguero among the substitutes was error-prone goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, dropped after a remarkable run of letting in each of the last six shots on target he has faced.

His replacement Willy Caballero had little to do, but he hardly instils confidence making the loan of Joe Hart to Torino all the more baffling.

Yet Guardiola insisted he did not regret that move, although he added: "I have to make decisions and sometimes I make mistakes."

Guardiola did not close the door for a return to the side for Bravo, however.

"Today Caballero was the first choice," he said. "Tonight I will sleep well and decide in the future.

"Was it a difficult decision? Yes it was difficult. But three or four guys had to stay in Manchester, that is difficult. I have 23 guys who deserve to play."

West Ham were architects of their own downfall, with Aaron Cresswell giving the ball away to De Bruyne for the opener.

Sane strode past Sam Byram and Jose Fonte to set up Silva's second, and Pedro Obiang was culpable before Sterling squared for Jesus' first City goal.

Fonte capped a miserable debut when he tripped Sterling in the second half, allowing Toure to wrap up the scoring from the spot.

"It's hard to find positives from this game," admitted Hammers boss Slaven Bilic. "First of all, well deserved to City but we helped them.

"It sounds crazy but we started well. But when we had the ball before the first goal and the third goal we tried to play square balls.

"When you give the ball away in those areas against players like Silva and De Bruyne they punish you."

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