Gabriel Jesus 'fighting like an animal' for his Man City opportunity

Gabriel Jesus Manchester City 2019-20
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The Brazilian striker faces a tough battle with team-mate Sergio Aguero for regular starts at the Premier League champions

Gabriel Jesus is "fighting like an animal" to become Manchester City's first-choice striker, according to Pep Guardiola.

The City boss admits it is tough for the 22-year-old to battle against club legend Sergio Aguero for a regular place in his side.

Jesus started ahead of the Argentinian in the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday and he justified Guardiola's decision by heading in the opener - his 50th goal in just 110 appearances and the seventh consecutive start when he has scored.

"Competing with Sergio is maybe the most difficult thing," Guardiola said. "Sergio is a legend, an outrageous player - amazing. He is so calm.

"[Jesus] is a real competitor - he accepts the decisions and every session he fights like an animal.

"His mentality means he’ll always have success. He is hungry, he wants to become an important striker around the world. We are lucky to have him."

City beat a host of leading European clubs, including Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, when they snapped him up from Brazilian club Palmeiras three years ago.

And Guardiola believes the £27 million ($35m) transfer fee makes him one of the club's best ever pound-for-pound signings.

"He is the No.9 for Brazil so he is an incredible player," Guardiola added.

"I thought the club bought an incredible young player at an incredible price - one of their best signings.

"He fights with Sergio and Sergio fights with him for one position. It’s good. Sometimes I need Sergio for many things and sometimes I need Gabriel.

"The reason [he started] is because I thought Gabriel was in that rhythm after the games with the national team.

"I don’t know what is going to happen in the next game."

Gabriel Jesus Crystal Palace vs Manchester City 2019-20

Jesus was lively throughout the win at Selhurst Park as City outplayed the Eagles to maintain their challenge on leaders Liverpool.

City should have had more than their two goals and the striker had one great opportunity saved by Wayne Hennessey when he should have passed to team-mate Kevin De Bruyne for a simple tap-in.

"Of course he is still young and can improve," Guardiola said. "The last action… like when he has to pass to Kevin, he has to do it. But he is so young.

"We missed a lot of chances. We have to be clinical.

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"The people say the Champions League [is our] target, we still are not ready.

"We create a lot and don’t concede but can improve.

"We’ve scored a lot over the last two seasons and I don’t have doubts about that but we have to keep going."