Manchester City put their defeat to Southampton behind them with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday.

The 1-0 loss at St Mary's Stadium was City's ninth of the Premier League season and left them a demoralising 23 points behind new champions Liverpool at the top.

That gap was closed back to 20 - while the distance to Chelsea in third was stretched to nine - as Pep Guardiola's side brushed aside Newcastle through goals from Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and a Federico Fernandez own goal.

Newcastle were happy to cede possession and keep their defensive block in place, but the game plan was undone just 10 minutes in when Jesus finished from David Silva's cut-back after some slack marking.

The visitors were unable to cope with City's high press and, when they lost the ball again 35 yards out, De Bruyne ran onto Phil Foden's simple pass and squared for Mahrez to side-foot home.

That goal meant City became the first team to have five players hit 10 goals in a single Premier League season and there should have been another when Jonjo Shelvey gave up possession but Foden shot wide.

Foden somehow prodded wide with the goal gaping soon after the restart, but City had only to wait until the 58th minute for their third goal, Matt Ritchie kicking the ball in off Fernandez while trying to stop Jesus.

Silva made it 4-0 with a precise free-kick from 25 yards out, the disjointed Newcastle wall summing up the Magpies' scant overall resistance, and the Spaniard set up substitute Sterling for a simple fifth after intercepting a pass.

What does it mean? City consolidate second... and wonder why

City's latest goalscoring record took them to 86 in the league this season, 14 more than leaders Liverpool, but did little more than make finishing second almost certain.

The kind of attacking interplay and unshakeable dominance of the game against Newcastle only adds to the bemusement as to how they have lost nine times and let Jurgen Klopp's side have such a simple time of things in the title race.

It was a first league loss for Steve Bruce's side since February 22, keeping them six points outside of the top eight but comfortably 16 clear of the drop zone.

Silva still shining as City clock winds down

Silva got his ninth and 10th assists of the season in all competitions and a sublime goal to cap a typically creative, stylish performance. Surprisingly, it was the first time he had scored and set up a goal in a league match since January 2016.

He has just two more home league games to come as a City player. It is a shame they will be held without the crowd ovation he deserves.

Krafth work strikes a sour note

Newcastle's 4-5-1 shape was never likely to work if the players were so quick to lose focus. The first-half goals both came from the position Emil Krafth should have been occupying, although he was given next to no protection out wide by DeAndre Yedlin and Valentino Lazaro.

What's next?

City head to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, the same day Newcastle face a Watford side still fighting for Premier League survival.

A couple of days on, Manchester City's 1-0 defeat at Southampton – their ninth loss of a limp and unsuccessful Premier League title defence – still appeared to be irritating Pep Guardiola.

How had it happened again? Such wastefulness.

Guardiola warned his players their FA Cup and Champions League hopes will go up in smoke if they remain so profligate, with his suggested remedy sounding more like exasperation than a practical solution.

"The only solution when you create 26 chances [and don't win] is to do 35," he said, recalling the precise number of attempts City had without scoring on England's south coast last weekend.

"And if 35 is not enough, 40. And if 40 is not enough, 45."

The City manager stopped before his chances to minutes ratio ran away from him entirely, but his team do create a phenomenal amount of opportunities.

In a Premier League table compiled using results from each game returned by Opta's Expected Goals (xG) metric, City would be top and not a mammoth 23 points in arrears.

Put simply, if fairly absurdly, the division's top scorers have a goalscoring problem.

NO SALVATION FOR JESUS

Sergio Aguero's knee-injury absence means Gabriel Jesus is City's only fit senior striker. This is certainly not the best time for the Brazil international to be enduring a nine-match goal drought.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's home game against Newcastle United, Guardiola made a point of praising Jesus' performance at Southampton, but his numbers make for grim reading.

Of the five opportunities Opta classified as big chances to pass the visitors by at St Mary's, Jesus spurned three of them. His xG figure for that barren showing was 1.36.

In 29 Premier League appearances, the 23-year-old has scored 10 times in 2019-20. This is a significant under-performance of his 14.7 xG.

Jesus' big-chance conversion rate is 25 per cent. No City player has enjoyed more than his 28 opportunities of that sort, yet just seven have ended up in the net.

However, as noted above, this is a team-wide problem for which Jesus is currently – albeit somewhat understandably – the main scapegoat.

THREE AND NOT SO EASY

As of Monday, there had been 24 occasions this Premier League season when a team registered an xG in excess of three during a single match.

City have done so six times, more than any other club. However, their xG of 3.25 against Southampton means they are also the only team to have lost when racking up such a dominant statistic.

Burnley's 3.15 xG only amounted to a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham, but in the other 22 instances, the team creating such a high volume of quality chances prevailed.

City also had an xG of exactly three during their 2-2 draw at home to Spurs last August - an outcome Guardiola still frequently references when assessing where the campaign went awry.

AGUERO LEADS THE WAY

City's all-time leading goalscorer, Aguero turned 32 last month and is out of contract at the end of next season.

The team's recent struggles arguably give an uncomfortable insight into the not-too-distant future. None of Guardiola's other main forward options are as reliably clinical or prolific.

Aguero' 16 Premier League goals this season arrived at a frequency of one every 91 minutes. In contrast to Jesus, he out-performed his xG of 14.6. The Argentina international converted 13 of 25 big chances (52 per cent).

Raheem Sterling was on target during the recent comprehensive wins over Arsenal and Liverpool, but his haul of 13 dips below an xG mark of 14.8, in part due to 10 of 26 big chances being finished off (38 per cent).

MAHREZ AND FODEN OFFER HOPE

Elsewhere, Opta's numbers show not all City players should despair when confronted with a sight of goal.

Riyad Mahrez has an xG projection of six Premier League goals this term, but is up to nine in reality.  The former Leicester City winger isn't entirely immune to the jitters, however, with four of his six big chances missed.

Perhaps the situation calls for bold belief of a special young talent.

Phil Foden's provides a smaller sample size in terms of minutes played, yet the England Under-21 star has four goals despite an xG figure of 1.3.

All of those goals – a brace against Burnley in between strikes versus Arsenal and Liverpool – have come since lockdown and Foden is two from two when it comes to big chances.

Pep Guardiola believes Gabriel Jesus should be valued in his own right at Manchester City and not compared unfavourably to the club's record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.

A knee injury to Aguero has afforded Jesus his latest chance for an extended run as first-choice striker at City, although the opportunity has arrived with the Brazil international enduring a barren run in front of goal.

Since scoring a vital winner at Leicester City and heading in the equaliser in City's 2-1 Champions League win at Real Madrid in February, the 23-year-old has gone eight matches without adding to his season tally of 18.

As his attacking colleagues dazzled in Thursday's 4-0 win over Premier League champions Liverpool, Jesus endured another evening of personal frustration and missed the opportunity for a statement performance with the 32-year-old Aguero into the final year of his contract.

Ahead of Sunday's trip to face Southampton at St Mary's – where Jesus enjoyed one of the highlights of his City career two years ago, scoring decisively in stoppage time to seal a 100-point season in 2017-18 – Guardiola offered his backing, citing the forward's "unique" selfless qualities.

"No one can compare to Sergio, what he has done in his career – first because he is older than Gabriel," he said.

"It is perfect for us because they are complimentary. What one guy has the other one maybe struggles with.

"Gabriel has something that is unique in the world. He helps us to be more aggressive. He is a fighter.

"I remember how many goals we have scored the last three or four or five games thanks to him.

"Gabriel is something special for us. It is unfair to compare players. Every player is different. We have to adapt his qualities for the benefit of him and the team."

By contrast, there are no notable questions over the talents of midfield talisman Kevin De Bruyne at present.

The playmaker turned in another swashbuckling showing to down Liverpool, opening the scoring with his fourth consecutive penalty conversion before having a hand in all of the other goals.

De Bruyne wore the captain's armband last time out and, a year on from long-time skipper Vincent Kompany leaving City and with club captain David Silva heading for the exit door, Guardiola praised the 29-year-old's growing leadership qualities.

"Yes [he is a leader], for the role he takes in the locker room and takes responsibility on the pitch," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added.

"When he is captain, he wants to be captain. He wants to help, he wants to play a part and put the club and the team in front of himself.

"For sure [I see increased maturity]. Myself, I am not the same person I was when I was 25. I changed in many things. Kevin, for sure."

After upwards of a year of speculation, Pep Guardiola has confirmed Leroy Sane will leave Manchester City.

The Germany winger is widely expected to join Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich after rejecting a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.

His existing terms expire in June 2021, although the likelihood is City will begin the 2020-21 campaign without Sane in their ranks.

A solution in the transfer market might not be easily found, considering the two-season Champions League ban City have appealed against at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the expected wider economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here, we look at some of the players in Guardiola's squad who – for better or worse – might be impacted by Sane's departure.

RAHEEM STERLING

If Sane had bought into Guardiola's demands of a wide forward and maximised his talent to the extent England star Sterling has, this is probably not a conversation we would be having. While the City boss increasingly appeared not to trust Sane's contribution during last season's treble run-in, Sterling was and remains absolutely integral to his plans.

However, being almost exclusively played on the left during Sane's injury absence this season has seemed to take a toll upon the 25-year-old, whose preference for cutting in on his right foot had started to become predictable and easier to defend. Sane's presence allowed him to switch flanks and ask varied questions of defences. If his departure means Sterling being restricted to left-wing duties, City might struggle to fully realise the ample talents of their most potent attacking threat.

GABRIEL JESUS

Life as understudy to the club's all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero appears to weigh heavily upon Jesus at times, while playing an entire World Cup as Brazil's number nine without scoring – as he did at Russia 2018 – knocked his confidence considerably.

The 23-year-old rehabilitated his standing with the Selecao in a wide-right role during last season's Copa America triumph, while he put in arguably his finest City performance on the left flank when he opened the scoring in February's 2-1 Champions League win at Real Madrid. A selfless performer, Aguero and Sterling would have few complaints were Jesus to fill that position on a more frequent basis.

PHIL FODEN

Of the pending exits at Manchester City, David Silva's departure at the end of this season is viewed as the most significant for presumed heir Foden. However, Guardiola has deployed the England Under-21 playmaker on the left of a front three this season, most notably when he was thrust into the EFL Cup final against Aston Villa and turned in an irresistible man-of-the-match display.

Foden came off the bench against Arsenal to score for the 11th time in 63 senior appearances, once again showing a keen eye for goal. He averages 2.5 chances created per 90 minutes in the Premier League.

BENJAMIN MENDY

When Sane leaves, City will badly lack for natural width down the left side. One man who provides that if fit and firing is left-back Mendy, although his travails following two bouts of knee surgery since moving to Manchester in 2017 mean that "if" is doing an awful lot of work.

Guardiola has always been reluctant to pair Mendy and Sane, seemingly because both men like to operate in similar zones of the pitch. Without the latter, Mendy would be free to rove and Jesus could thrive as a tucked-in forward inside him. The big question, however, is whether the force-of-nature attacking threat City signed from Monaco can ever truly return after what his body has been through.

RIYAD MAHREZ

City's record signing when he joined in 2018, Mahrez has not been able to hit the heights he did at Leicester, where his mercurial skills secured the PFA Player of the Year award amid the most unlikely Premier League title triumph in 2015-16.

More often than not at City, the Algeria star has looked a rung or two below Sterling and Sane in terms of elite quality. Mahrez's 30 Premier League starts have yielded 14 goals and 12 assists in sky blue at a comparable per-90-minute rate to Sane. Maybe without him he can truly thrive?

JAYDEN BRAAF

The latest jewel of City's academy set-up, Braaf has already amassed a considerable personal following thanks to some moments of individual skill for the age-group teams that quickly went viral.

City would surely be loath for Braaf, who is reportedly admired by numerous clubs across Europe, to become the next Jadon Sancho and depart for superstardom elsewhere at a knockdown price. Sane's departure might just give the Diutch youngster a way in.

Gabriel Jesus believes growing support for the Black Lives Matter movement comes from people being "exhausted" from suffering injustice and racism

The Brazil and Manchester City footballer has added his voice to those calling for change amid the protests that have swept the United States and beyond in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Derek Chauvin was dismissed and charged with second-degree murder, while the three other officers on the scene have also been sacked and charged with aiding and abetting a murder.

Numerous figures from the world of sport have spoken up with demands for change and Jesus knows personally that the ravages of racism run deep.

"Racism isn't a problem that only started in recent days and it isn't normal, so people do feel that they have had enough, and they have exploded," he said, before taking aim at what appears to be a wilful misinterpretation of the Black Lives Matter cause in some quarters.

"I'm against violence or any sort of violent protest. I'm all in favour of peaceful protests in order to say 'no to racism' and whenever we say 'Black Lives Matter', we should also read it correctly and understand the meaning behind it.

"We aren't saying that other lives don't matter, but we are saying that the lives of black people who feel racism matter.

"We can’t generalise it. Not everyone is racist, the majority aren't, but lots of people are and it's like they haven't got brains.

"So, when we use that sentence it's because we know what it is to be a victim of racism. It is painful to feel it."

Jesus explained he was once racially abused when playing for Brazilian club Palmeiras during a Copa Libertadores tie in Uruguay – the kind of ordeal the two-time Premier League champion and Copa America winner is wearied to still see occurring frequently.

"I have suffered a couple of times. I've managed to elevate myself [above it]," he said.

"I'm black and I'm from a favela. I was able to learn from those experiences, but everyone reacts and feels differently and I've got my way.

"This is a very important movement, because like I said, there is a time that people do wake up and these actions [police brutality] that we've seen lately aren't normal and they shouldn't happen.

"Therefore there is a moment that we have to say 'enough, time to stop' and it is important to show your position on this matter and this sentence [Black Lives Matter] is very clear on how tired people have been exhausted for a while, tired of injustice.

"Social media is very important these days, but the problem is that sometimes we don’t respect each other’s opinions or views and that can create a bigger problem or hate.

"I know it is difficult to speak about peace, but if we were to follow our lives based on peace, it would be a lot better."

Jesus and his City colleague will be back in action on June 17 when they host Arsenal upon the Premier League's resumption from its coronavirus shutdown.

Despite the lay-off, the 23-year-old confirmed there has been no let up for the squad when it comes to manager Pep Guardiola's famous intensity.

"The concept is always the same," he added, with City poised to lose their Premier League crown to Liverpool but retaining designs on adding the FA Cup and Champions League to a third consecutive EFL Cup they won in March.

"There are one or two things that have changed, but I will not be revealing them here!

"Pep is creative and intense, so he always has ways to make sure that the players’ fusion always works.

"It is a tough moment in the Premier League but we still have two more trophies to fight for."

Gabriel Jesus' goal deep into stoppage time at Southampton gave Manchester City a 1-0 win on the final day two years ago and brought up another landmark in the Premier League champions' stunning 2017-18 season.

Pep Guardiola leapt on to the St Mary's turf jubilantly to join the celebrations, in the knowledge his team had become the first in English top-flight history to reach 100 points in a single campaign.

City made a habit of breaking new statistical ground while turning what had promised to be a captivating title race into a procession – although a similarly dominant performance from Liverpool this time around means some of those best marks will be under threat as and when the Premier League resumes.

Here, we have a look at some of the most astonishing numbers from what proved to be the first of back-to-back title triumphs.

100 – City passed Chelsea's previous Premier League best of 95 points by beating Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 in their penultimate match. Adjusting Liverpool's efforts in the 1978-79 season to three points for a win, the overall record stood at 98 - a number City matched in 2018-19 when pipping Jurgen Klopp's Reds to retain the title by a point.

100 – Despite winning six previous league titles across spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola reached 100 points in a season for the first time in his career - surpassing 99 with Barca in 2009-10.

32 – No English team has won more games in a top-flight season than City in 2017-18. Their 16 away wins also represented a competition best. Liverpool's tilt at the latter mark might be ruled out by any Premier League restart at neutral venues this term, although six wins from their remaining nine games would take them to 33 victories.

18 – Beginning with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth on August 26, 2017, and concluded by a 1-0 triumph at Newcastle on December 27, 2017, City set a Premier League best of 18 consecutive victories. Liverpool matched this streak before losing 3-0 at Watford in February.

106 – Jesus' goal concluded the most prolific team season in Premier League history. Tottenham's 1962-63 Division One winners scored 111 times.

– City won the Premier League with five games to spare, equalling the efforts of Manchester United (1907-08 and 2000-01) and Everton (1984-85). This is a record Klopp's men were on course to surpass when this season's action paused.

1 – Guardiola was the first Spanish manager to win the Premier League.

19 – The gap between first and second in the final standings has never been bigger than the 19-point gap between City and Jose Mourinho's United. At present, City trail Liverpool by 25 points with a game in hand.

79 -  No Premier League side has ever had a larger positive goal difference.

Harry Kane's future continues to make headlines.

Since saying he would not stay at Tottenham "for the sake of it" in his pursuit of silverware, Kane has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Now, Spurs have reportedly named their fee for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM SET KANE PRICE

Tottenham will allow star striker Harry Kane to leave for £200million, according to the Daily Mail.

Kane has been heavily linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Spurs are reportedly keen on some extra funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona? Not necessarily. The Sun claims Manchester City are favourites to sign the Inter forward, despite the Argentina international being tipped to move to Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano says Juventus will consider moving for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of United star Paul Pogba. Brescia's Sandro Tonali and Gaetano Castrovilli of Fiorentina are also on the list.

Barca are desperate to strengthen their squad. Martinez is the priority up front for the LaLiga champions, but Mundo Deportivo says they want more. Barca are eyeing a midfielder, with Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele being considered. The Catalan giants are also looking for a central defender and have been linked to City centre-back Aymeric Laporte, Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig and Sevilla's Diego Carlos.

Inter are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, reports Calciomercato. The Frenchman is also being followed by United and Arsenal.

- Signing Mauro Icardi remains the main objective for Juve, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions are keen to sign a striker amid links to Inter's Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, City forward Gabriel Jesus, Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli, Lyon's Moussa Dembele and Kane are also on Juve's radar.

Neymar is reportedly preparing for a return to Barcelona as Paris Saint-Germain accept the star's exit is "inevitable".

The Brazil international arrived at PSG from Barca in 2017 but has regularly been linked with a move back to Camp Nou.

Speculation over Neymar's future continues and he seems to be nearing a Barcelona return.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR PREPARES FOR BARCELONA RETURN AS PSG ACCEPT 'INEVITABLE' EXIT

Neymar is preparing for a Barcelona return and PSG are getting a strategy ready to sell the 28-year-old as it is 'inevitable' he will move on, according to Sport.

Neymar spent four seasons at Barca before a world-record €222million move to PSG.

The forward scored 18 goals in 22 games for PSG before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Jadon Sancho is linked with a Premier League move this close season. But The Sun reports the Borussia Dortmund star is ready to reject Manchester United if they fail to secure a spot in the Champions League. United were fifth in the Premier League when the season was suspended.

- Mauro Icardi's future remains uncertain. Corriere dello Sport reports Icardi will leave PSG, where he is on loan from Inter, at the end of the season and Juventus are once again interested.

- With Manchester United again seemingly interested in Matthijs de Ligt, a swap deal could be on the cards. The Sun reports United are ready to swap Paul Pogba – who has been linked with a return to Juventus – for defender De Ligt.

- It may not be the only swap deal involving a Manchester club and Juventus. The Sun says Juve are ready to offer Douglas Costa to Manchester City in a bid to land Gabriel Jesus.

- Ivan Rakitic appears likely to leave Barcelona. Marca reports Atletico Madrid want the midfielder, while Sport reports Barcelona are unaware of their rivals' interest in the Croatia international.

- Barcelona were reportedly prepared to use Junior Firpo in a deal to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, but the left-back could head elsewhere. Sport reports Napoli are the most recent club to contact Barca over Junior's availability.

Another day, another Lautaro Martinez rumour.

Inter star Martinez continues to dominate headlines as Barcelona reportedly circle.

Barca appear to be closing in on the Argentina international forward.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA MOVE CLOSER TO MARTINEZ

Barcelona have reached an agreement in principle with Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, according to Tuttosport.

Martinez is a player in demand amid links to Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City.

But Barca are desperate to sign Martinez and the report claims the LaLiga champions have reached a deal on the contract and must now negotiate with Inter.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports United are "optimistic" they will have Paul Pogba at their disposal in 2020-21 as no club can afford him. The disgruntled star has been linked to former team Juventus and Madrid.

- Serie A champions Juve are keen on replacing forward Gonzalo Higuain with City's Gabriel Jesus, says Calciomcercato.

Barca are struggling to offload Brazilian attacker Philippe Coutinho, according to Marca. Coutinho, on loan at Bayern Munich, has been linked to Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham. However, Barca have been unable to find a team willing to spend at least €80million (£73m). Another loan spell is being considered.

- Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland has become Madrid's primary transfer target, ahead of the likes of Martinez and RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, claims Marca. Madrid continue to eye Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe as his contract is due to expire in 2021, while team-mate Neymar is reportedly another option.

Napoli will demand at least €40m for striker Arkadiusz Milik, says Calciomercato. It comes as Milan and Inter reportedly circle the Poland international, who is no closer to signing a new deal in Naples.

- Corriere dello Sport reports Zlatan Ibrahimovic is considering retirement but Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis wants the 38-year-old striker to sign a new deal.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is at the top of Juve's wish list, Tuttosport claims. Tonali is also wanted by Inter, United, City and PSG. Alternatives for Juve are Roma pair Nicolo Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini, as well as Fiorentina duo Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli.

Pep Guardiola is confident Raheem Sterling will soon get back on the goal trail after a tough run of form at Manchester City.

England forward Sterling enjoyed a prolific start to the campaign that included hat-tricks against West Ham and Atalanta.

However, he is now scoreless in 12 matches, with the last of his 20 goals in all competitions coming when he netted a brace in a 3-2 Premier League defeat to Wolves in December.

A hamstring injury further compromised the 25-year-old and, although he produced a telling cameo from the bench in City's 2-1 Champions League comeback win at Real Madrid last month, his trails in the opposition penalty area were again laid bare during Sunday's 2-0 derby loss at Manchester United.

Nevertheless, much like goalkeeper Ederson – whose two mistakes led to United's goals – manager Guardiola has no fears over Sterling's levels of belief heading into Wednesday's Premier League match against Arsenal.

"He's incredibly positive, especially in the fact that when he misses one chance he tries again," he said.

"He was injured for two or three weeks and sometimes you need a little bit more time, but he's coming back.

"I never was so much worried about these kind of actions, like Ederson last time. It happens.

"These are the guys who suffer the most. When it happens they have been supported and we try to let them feel we are here for them.

"Sometimes you speak with them and sometimes you leave them free. They are so mature to understand what they have to do."

City's attack was unusually toothless in the Old Trafford derby, with a left-sided berth for Gabriel Jesus one option available to Guardiola in terms of freshening things up.

A centre-forward by trade, the Brazil international has played on the flank for his country and excelled out wide before scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Deploying Jesus on the left of a front three could give Sterling a chance to freshen up on the right of City's all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero, although the specific characteristics of opponents and the identity of his full-backs – Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko offering very different interpretations of the left-back role – will also be factored into Guardiola's thinking.

"I think Gabriel can adapt perfectly in that way, especially as he doesn't play wide, wide wide," he explained.

"He can play a little bit more inside like how Arsenal play with Aubameyang. Gabriel can play perfectly in that position and in the games he played he played really well."

Leroy Sane, a specialist on the left wing, could make his long-awaited return from knee ligament surgery against Arsenal and Guardiola added: "Sometimes we need more specific winger in that position, it depends on the quality of our full-backs as well.

"To attack a defence with five players in the back and so deep, you have to make the pitch wide. If you don't it is more difficult."

Pep Guardiola says there is not a striker in world football who has as much intensity off the ball as Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus after the Brazilian played a starring role in Wednesday's win over Real Madrid.

The 22-year-old was chosen ahead of Sergio Aguero for the Champions League last-16 first leg and repaid his manager's faith with a fine display.

Isco's opener on the hour looked handed Madrid the advantage in the tie, but Jesus – starting on the left flank alongside a more central Kevin De Bruyne – pulled City level.

Belgium international De Bruyne then sealed a memorable win from the penalty spot.  

Guardiola was fulsome in his praise of Jesus afterwards, telling a media conference: "There is not one striker in the world who has the intensity without the ball like Gabriel.

"He is a guy who makes incredible runs in behind. He is not an especially good player when he receives the ball to the front, but when he starts from the side to make diagonal runs, he is so fast, so good.

"We decided to play without a proper striker because of the way Madrid defend. They defend a special way. They are so aggressive, man-to-man at the goal-kicks, so high and when this happens you have to make the pitch wide.

"If you don't it's so difficult to put balls in front of Sergio Ramos, [Raphael] Varane, [Luka] Modric and [Federico] Valverde.

"We want to put the balls in diagonals to the wingers as quickly as possible and in the first minutes we suffered but after 15 minutes we got [Ilkay] Gundogan and Rodri involved and more fluidity with that."

Guardiola insists the tie is far from over, though, and says Madrid's rich history in the competition means they are more than capable of turning things around in Manchester on March 17.

"Now, I am pretty sure Zidane and his people will look at what I have done and the second game will be different," he added.

"Today we're happy but the second leg will be close. I'm not worried but still it is not over and if there's one team in the world which can overcome it, with their history, it is Real Madrid.

"Hopefully we can put in a good performance and go through."

Pep Guardiola joked Manchester City's tactics would not be getting praised if they had not won after his side came from behind to beat Real Madrid in the Champions League.

City had the better of a fast-paced first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, yet Isco's opener on the hour looked set to be handing Madrid the advantage in their last-16 tie.

However, a tactical tweak from Guardiola – who started Kevin De Bruyne in an advanced role and Gabriel Jesus on the left – saw Raheem Sterling enter the fray and spark a late revival.

Sterling's introduction gave De Bruyne license to roam, with the playmaker setting up Jesus' equaliser before the Belgian slotted in a winning penalty with seven minutes remaining.

Sergio Ramos saw red for Madrid as their capitulation worsened, with City holding firm to take a lead back to Manchester for the second leg on March 17.

"Only because we won, it doesn't count if not," Guardiola told BT Sport when asked if it was a perfect gameplan.

"The important thing is the way we played. We came here to win the game and we did it in this stadium, it's just the first part.

"If one team can overcome this situation, it will be [Real Madrid]. Of course, it's a good result.

"I am so proud, but it is just the first part. We have another game, so it is not over. It will be so hard. But be calm, enjoy the moment.

"On Sunday we have [the EFL Cup] final and then keep going in the Premier League and prepare the second game against Madrid."

City missed several chances prior to Isco's opener, which came from a mix-up between Nicolas Otamendi and Rodri, while Kyle Walker also failed to cover himself in glory, and Guardiola acknowledged his team are still prone to too many lapses.

"We were the better side and we conceded a goal that we should not have conceded and then, when Madrid were better, we scored. But that is competition, that is football," he added.

"I remember two seasons ago in the quarter-finals at Anfield we played incredibly well, but [Liverpool] had three shots on target and scored three goals.

"Against Tottenham [last season] we showed incredible personality as well, but we have to improve, we cannot gift them the goal we conceded, but it's part of the game and in the future we will grow."

De Bruyne's winner was his 50th goal in all competitions for City, and the 28-year-old said he and his team-mates are now getting used to Guardiola's tactical tinkering.

"I think in the four years [under Pep] there has always been surprises," De Bruyne told BT Sport.

"We don't sometimes really know until the game starts what we need to do. Some moments were good, we had some lesser moments but in a quality game like this you're going to struggle sometimes, but we fought really well together."

The tension was palpable as Kevin De Bruyne stepped up to take his penalty at the Santiago Bernabeu.

No doubt Manchester City's issues from the spot were going through the Belgian's mind – he had even been asked about the apparent problem after Sergio Aguero's miss against Leicester City was their fourth successive spot-kick failure.

But there needn't have been any worries in the heads of City fans, players or coaching staff. De Bruyne coolly slotted to his left, calmly placing his kick right into the bottom corner with the kind of assuredness we have come to expect from the midfield dynamo.

It was a just reward for an exceptional display from De Bruyne, who was the driving force behind much of City's best moves, laying on an unmatched four key passes.

Understandably De Bruyne will take many of the plaudits following City's impressive 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Gabriel Jesus more than played his part with a selfless, yet similarly crucial role.

The Brazilian was picked ahead of City's all-time leading scorer, Aguero, causing many-an-eyebrow to raise pre-match and concerning some fans after Thomas Muller's recent suggestion Pep Guardiola overthinks his selections ahead of the biggest games.

When asked if it was a reward for scoring the winner against Leicester after replacing Aguero from the bench late on, Guardiola denied it but kept his cards close to his chest.

Although initially appearing to be lining up as a lone frontman, Jesus started the contest from the left and worked tirelessly on the flank, tracking back but also proving a lively presence in attack.

The 22-year-old ended up with four shots – no one on the pitch had more – despite being asked to play such a role, one akin to the job Wayne Rooney was often tasked with performing for Manchester United on the biggest occasions.

Jesus' locale on the left actually led to him carving out the first chance of the match as he darted into the box from his wide position, cut inside Sergio Ramos and shot at Thibaut Courtois.

On this occasion the finish didn't quite live up to the build-up play.

Playing from the left is by no means a new phenomenon for Jesus, having done so on many occasions as a youngster with Palmeiras and Brazil's youth teams.

But performing such a role in the Champions League, away to Real Madrid, is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Jesus' work ethic was highlighted by the fact no one on the pitch engaged in more duels (14) than him. Eight players were involved in 10 or more, but none came out on top more often than the City forward (57 per cent).

He also completed two tackles, a figure bettered by no one, and two interceptions – only three players made more.

But to only focus on that side of Jesus' performance would be doing him a huge disservice.

De Bruyne was the single player to produce more than Jesus' three key passes, while he was there in the right place at the right time to score City's equaliser.

Peeling away from Ramos and cheekily giving him a slight nudge to maximise the space, Jesus headed De Bruyne's 78th-minute delivery into the ground and the bounce helped in deceiving Courtois as the Brazilian made light of the cross' lack of pace.

He might have got himself a second goal as he darted in behind Ramos four minutes from time, but he at least succeeded in luring the Spanish centre-back into earning the 26th red card of his professional career.

Guardiola made a bold move in selecting Jesus ahead of the ever-reliable Aguero, but the Argentinian could never have produced a comparable display in such a role.

Jesus more than justified Guardiola's faith – his industriousness and work ethic effectively inspiring one of the most famous results in City's history.

Manchester City completed a stunning comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu as Kevin De Bruyne's penalty secured a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Despite being the better side for much of a frenetic encounter in Spain, City – who lost Aymeric Laporte to injury in the first half – looked set to be heading for a defeat when Isco put Madrid ahead on the hour.

But De Bruyne, a peripheral figure in the first half, led the fightback, supplying the cross from which Gabriel Jesus headed home an equaliser before coolly slotting in from 12 yards after Dani Carvajal had brought down substitute Raheem Sterling.

And Madrid's frustrations were compounded with four minutes remaining, captain Sergio Ramos seeing red for a last-man challenge on Jesus as City secured a lead to take back to Manchester.

Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero have been named on the bench by Pep Guardiola for the first leg of Manchester City's Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid.

Sterling has missed the majority of February due to a thigh strain, but Guardiola confirmed on Tuesday the 25-year-old – who has five Champions League goals to his name this season – would be fit to return at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The England forward has only been deemed fit enough to take a place among the substitutes however, and he is joined on the bench by City's leading scorer, Aguero.

Gabriel Jesus, who replaced Aguero and scored the winning goal against Leicester City on Saturday, starts up front in one of two changes to City's team – the Brazil international has scored four goals in five Champions League games this term.

Jesus' compatriot Fernandinho is a surprise omission, with Nicolas Otamendi partnering Aymeric Laporte at the back.

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, has made three alterations to his side following a 1-0 defeat at Levante last time out.

Toni Kroos is replaced by Federico Valverde in midfield, while Ferland Mendy is in for Marcelo at left-back and the injured Eden Hazard makes way for Vinicius Junior, who is preferred to Gareth Bale.

Karim Benzema leads Madrid's line and will become the sixth player to make 100 Champions League appearances for the club, with Sergio Ramos making a record 124th start.

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