Impressive cup debut for City's Jesus

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling nets the 43rd-minute opener against Crystal Palace. City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in the 4th round of the FA Cup and next face West Ham away in the Premier League
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling nets the 43rd-minute opener against Crystal Palace. City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in the 4th round of the FA Cup and next face West Ham away in the Premier League. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Pep Guardiola said he had seen a vision of Manchester City's future after Gabriel Jesus inspired his side to a 3-0 FA Cup victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Making his full debut, Jesus set up Raheem Sterling for City's opener in the fourth-round tie, with Leroy Sane adding a second before Yaya Toure curled in a late free-kick.

Jesus' 43rd-minute assist, a neat spin and piercing pass, was among the first returns on his £27 million (S$48 million) move from Palmeiras and his display delighted the City manager.

"He helped us a lot. He's so aggressive, even if he's not a tall guy," Guardiola said of his 1.75m-tall player in his post-match press conference.

"It's the first game, so it's not easy for him to communicate. He doesn't speak English. He will need time. But he makes a lot of movements. The pass for the first goal is outstanding.

"We cannot forget, we play with 21, 20 and 21 (sic) - three strikers so, so young. It's the future for Man City and all three played good."

Sane made a slow start to his City career following his close-season move from Schalke, but the Germany winger has now scored three goals in his last three appearances.

"He arrived a little bit scared, but it's normal when you arrive in a new country," Guardiola said.

"After the game against Arsenal (a 2-1 win on Dec 18) and his injury, they had four or five days off and he realised he had to make a step forward and he did it.

"Not just in terms of the goal, but his involvement in our game. Not just the actions, but the runs in behind, the quality and fighting."

Guardiola was also pleased to see captain Vincent Kompany complete 90 minutes on his first outing since suffering a knee injury during City's 2-1 win at Palace on Nov 19.

"That is maybe one of the better news tonight," said the Spaniard. "He was a long time injured and every time he came back he could not finish 90 minutes."

Sergio Aguero was absent for City with a leg problem and Guardiola said he would be assessed before Wednesday's Premier League trip to West Ham United.

Guardiola said Toure, who arced a free-kick into the top-left corner in injury time, had been "perfect" since returning to the team in the November win at Selhurst Park, in which he scored twice.

But Palace manager Sam Allardyce was not as complimentary, arguing the Ivorian should have been shown a second yellow card for tripping Jordon Mutch midway through the first half.

"They should have been down to 10 men," Allardyce said.

"Mutchy had been booked for much less a couple of minutes before."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'Impressive cup debut for City's Jesus'. Print Edition | Subscribe