Manchester City attacker Gabriel Jesus pays the penalty for recent misses from the spot
Brazilian understands manager Guardiola's call to take away spot-kick responsibilities but insists he will learn and improve from mistakes
Gabriel Jesus won a penalty on Sunday, but he did not take one. The responsibility has been removed from him after Dean Henderson repelled a spot kick at Sheffield United last week. Ilkay Gundogan is now Manchester City’s anointed one and he duly scored the opening goal against Fulham.
The Brazilian understands Pep Guardiola’s decision to strip him of spot-kick duties, but he is adamant he hopes to return to them as a better penalty taker.
He has the wrong kind of 100 per cent record this season: three misses from three. He scuffed an effort wide against Atalanta in the Champions League, then an attempted dink trickled wide of the Argentina post in an international friendly.
Factor in a well-struck penalty that Peru’s Pedro Gallese saved superbly in the Copa America, and he has had a tough few months from 12 yards.
“In the training sessions I take them and I score more than I miss,” Jesus said. “If I take five I miss one and sometimes I don’t miss. In games it’s been different. I’ve taken three this season – two here and one with the national team, Brazil – and I missed all three.
"When you miss three in a row you go to the next one under pressure to score. So that’s the challenge. I have in my mind that I have to train more and improve more of course.
“Normally the manager puts on the paper in the dressing room before the game who are the penalty takers. Last game I was the penalty taker and here, normally, I am the taker but here it is Gundo. That’s football. Sometimes you have to stop, improve and come back strong.”
Gundogan has a 100 per cent record from the spot in competitive matches and Guardiola cited his ability to handle the pressure of the situation as a reason for picking the German.
He had initially quipped that the unflustered Ederson could be an option and Jesus feels his fellow Brazilian has the temperament to excel.
“Ederson is a very cool guy,” he said, before quoting Guardiola’s phrase about the goalkeeper. “It’s true he doesn’t have blood [in his veins]. If the manager said to him take them, I think he’s going to score.”
Jesus’ performance against Fulham, which included a four-minute brace in the second half of City’s 4-0 win, amounted to a fine response after the disappointment of Bramall Lane. “It’s always good when I score – a striker has to score here,” he said. “I’m happy with the goals. When I miss a chance I’m very hungry to score. Today I scored and helped my team-mates.”
It took his tally to 16 goals for the season and set City up for Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester United.
City have a 3-1 lead from the Old Trafford encounter. “Wednesday is going to be a tough game, difficult for us, difficult for them so we have to play amazing again to qualify for the final,” Jesus said.
Updated: January 27, 2020 05:08 PM