EPL

Guardiola hails 'fantastic' Jesus after Brazilian's four-goal haul downs Watford

By Sports Desk April 23, 2022

Pep Guardiola described Gabriel Jesus as "fantastic" after the striker hit four goals in Manchester City's 5-1 rout of Watford.

Jesus scored his first Premier League hat-trick on his 155th appearance in the competition. It made him the fifth Brazilian hat-trick scorer in the competition, after Afonso Alves, Robinho, Roberto Firmino and Lucas Moura, but the first of those to score four times in a single match.

The 25-year-old also assisted Rodri for a brilliant 25-yard strike in the first half, meaning he recorded five goal involvements as City kept the Premier League title race in their own hands.

City moved four points clear of title rivals Liverpool with the resounding victory, ahead of Jurgen Klopp's team hosting Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday.

Guardiola, who has won all of his 11 managerial clashes with Watford by a combined score of 47-5, said City could still improve upon their five-star display, but he was full of praise for his versatile Brazilian forward.

"We didn't defend well, we were not aggressive enough," Guardiola told Sky Sports. "But the players up front, not just Gabriel for his incredible four goals, all of them were brilliant.

"If there's one person who deserves the best in life for him, his family and his friends, it's Gabriel.

"All of us at the club, when he has one of these situations, we're happy for him because he's so generous. It doesn't matter what position he's going to play, we know how he fights for his mates. He's fantastic."

City also became the first English side in history to record 15 consecutive competitive wins over a single opponent by hammering the Hornets, but Guardiola insisted the victory didn't alter the Premier League title race.

"Nothing changes," he said. "When we won against Brighton we were two points behind [before the game], now we're four in front. Brighton was a 'final'. We had another 'final' today and we won it. Now we have an opportunity to play a 'final' against Leeds [next Saturday].

"Nothing changes. We have to win all five [remaining] games to be champions."

Jesus, meanwhile, was beaming after his four-goal haul, praising his team-mates' creativity after moving from three goals for the Premier League season to seven in under an hour at the Etihad Stadium.

"Today was my day," the striker told Sky Sports. "We played very good today, we created a lot of chances, that's what we need to do.

"We made passes and passes to create chances and try to score, and today we were very good on the finishing. I'm very happy with the three points. The team played so well, and we deserved it.

"It was my first hat-trick in the Premier League. I've tried. Sometimes I've scored two then I've hit a post, the defender has blocked [my shot], or the keeper has saved, but today was my day!"

Jesus is just the second City player to be directly involved in five goals in a single Premier League game (four goals, one assist), after Sergio Aguero scored five against Newcastle United in October 2015.

Saturday's City hero also became the third player to score four goals in a Premier League match for the club, after Edin Dzeko and Aguero, with the latter doing so on three occasions.

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