Manchester City progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup yesterday as they defeated a struggling Crystal Palace side 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, and Yaya Toure ensured safe passage, but manager Pep Guardiola reserved special praise for his front three as they caused Palace multiple problems yesterday.
Gabriel Jesus has only been in the UK a couple of weeks after finally securing his move, and after a brief cameo appearance against Tottenham last weekend in the Premier League, he showed yet more promise in SE25 with a lively debut.
The 19-year-old Brazilian set-up the first goal, and throughout he was a constant pest to James Tomkins and Martin Kelly at the heart of Palace’s defence.
Guardiola ‘can’t complain’ as City brush past Palace
It hasn’t been an easy debut season in the Premier League for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager; but with the league all but over for City; concentration can now turn to the Cup competitions.
They still have the knockout rounds of the Champions League to look forward to, and with passage secured in the FA Cup it could still be a good season for City and their fans.
But speaking about the victory over Sam Allardyce’s Palace, the Spaniard said: “We are happy, we beat a Premier League team away so we can’t complain.”
“When we lose people say the Premier League is so tough and when we win people say it’s too easy so it’s a Premier League team, and even though Crystal Palace are struggling their qualities are there,” continued Guardiola.
Creating chances this season hasn’t been a problem for City; their defending has come into question plenty of times though.
But for Guardiola he was happy his team took the chances they created yesterday afternoon, saying: “Again like Tottenham, and with so many other games we create lots of chances, and today we were able to take them.”
Guardiola hailed Jesus, Sane, Sterling, and Toure as City progressed
City have an embarrassment of riches in the forward areas, and with Sergio Aguero missing through injury on Saturday; Guardiola was still able to call on three future stars to lead the line.
The trio of Sterling, Sane, and Jesus were particularly impressive yesterday.
“It was good, he [Jesus] was so aggressive, so it’s not easy for him – he doesn’t speak English so he needs time; but he done well for the first goal, outstanding,” said Guardiola as he praised Jesus’ impact.
“People forget we play with a 21, 22, and 19 year-olds as three strikers, so, so young, but it’s the future for Manchester City and all three did well today,” continued Guardiola.
Sane also impressed, the summer arrival from Schalke has taken a bit of time to adapt to the rigours of English football, but the past two games have shown he has an abundance of talent at his disposal.
“You don’t need to be a manager to realise that, he arrived in a new country; but he has a made step forward. People forget he’s only 21, but he joined a big club, but he’s learning so it’s good news to us,” admitted Guardiola.
Toure was a pivotal part of City’s win yesterday; he was involved in all things good for City. But he was fortunate not to escape two yellow cards; and speaking about the incident after the game, Guardiola said: “I decide not to speak about the referee’s.”
But talking about the impact of his performance, the Spaniard said: “Last time we came here, he won the game for us. Yaya is playing really well for us at the moment.”