LIVERPOOL, England — Gabriel Jesus has said he was unhappy when Pep Guardiola stopped him taking a crucial penalty in Manchester City’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool.
The City boss has since apologised to the Brazilian striker after telling winger Riyad Mahrez to take the 86th minute spot-kick, which he then fired over the bar.
Jesus 21, has been struggling for form since a disappointing World Cup, but he insisted he felt confident to take the penalty.
“Obviously I’m not that happy,” he told reporters. “As Riyad, I’ve been practising [penalties].
“I would like to have taken it. I was confident, so I was not happy that they did not allow me. However, it was important that we didn’t lose. Pep spoke with me.
“This is part of football, sometimes these things happen. I will support Riyad if the manager chooses him again.”
Club record signing Mahrez has now missed six of his last 10 penalties in the Premier League but says he needs to put the disappointment behind him as quickly as possible.
“I made the decision to shoot in the middle — the ball went up,” he said. “Now I have to look forward. It’s part of football — sometimes you score, sometimes you miss.
“But the most important part was that our performance was very good today. We deserved to win, but sometimes it’s important not to lose, as well.”
It did at least bring an end to a run of three successive defeats against Liverpool, who knocked City out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals last season.
The game was a far cry from the four explosive encounters last season which brought 18 goals, but Mahrez praised City’s defensive performance.
“We were very strong defensively,” he added. “It showed we can do both — have the ball and be very strong as well. It’s a good draw and we deserved to win.
“It’s very important and it’s something that we can take for the future. It showed we are not just a team that wants to play, and leaves big spaces, but we are a team who want to be strong defensively, and that’s what we showed.”