Pep Guardiola was extremely pleased that Manchester City picked up their first points of the new season with a 5-0 hammering of Norwich City, and praised Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish for their impact on the game.
Goals from Grealish, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal helped the Cityzens bounce back from their opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, as they dominated the newly-promoted Canaries from start to finish.
Guardiola was satisfied with his players’ reaction to the shock loss in north London, and spoke at length about the ‘exceptional’ Jesus, while encouraging Grealish to learn from Sterling in the art of goalscoring.
Here are the Spaniard’s quotes from his post-match interview.
The Man City boss first congratulated his players for their response to the 1-0 defeat to Spurs, stressing that this result was ‘the consequence of how many good things’ they’ve done over the past week.
“This result was the consequence of how many good things we have done,” Guardiola said.
“We are still not at the top – there are still many things to do. We trained, we were refreshed, happy for these first points…. hopefully they will not be the last!”
Guardiola then opened up on Jesus, who impressed in the demolition of Norwich. The Brazilian bagged a couple of assists and remained a constant threat throughout, and the coach lauded his ‘exceptional performance’.
“He’s a player who likes to be wider than central position. One of the reasons why I’m a manager is when you can work with people and humans like Gabriel,” Guardiola remarked.
“He never complains, he plays five minutes, he plays the best five minutes he can do. He’s happy on left, right or centre and today the connection with Kyle was exceptional.
“I’m pleased with his performance; he was involved in three of our goals and is an Incredibly important player for us. He made an exceptional performance today, and I repeat, if he plays three minutes he plays the best three minutes for the club and everyone.
“The more you have in this position the better we are. When someone plays like this they deserve to play. He’s so young, big congratulations because he deserves in life the best. He’s so generous and as I say, I’m incredibly satisfied for him.”
Grealish enjoyed a stellar home debut, scoring his first goal for the club and starring until his substitution. Guardiola was keen to applaud the England star, while recommending that he take a leaf from Sterling’s book to become a goalscoring ‘machine’ in the penalty area.
“If he gets the mentality to score goals like Raheem, yeah (he can score more),” he said. “When Raheem was here when I first arrived he didn’t have goals in his mind and we immediately changed his arrival.
“Today he scored because he arrives in the centre, he’s a machine there. He changed his mind and decided he was going to score. Jack has this mentality to score goals and win games as well.
“But if he has the Raheem mentality then he can do it, too.”