The former Brazil international believes his fellow countryman will struggle to produce his best in a system that often requires no striker
Gabriel Jesus has been urged to get answers on his Manchester City future, with former Brazil international Ze Roberto warning that World Cup dreams may be dashed by a system at the Etihad Stadium that often requires no central striker.
Pep Guardiola is famed for his tactical tinkering, with the Catalan coach boasting enough match-winning talent in Manchester that he can favour a ‘false nine’ approach that gets more creative influences into his side.
That approach can leave the likes of Jesus kicking their heels on the bench, with the 24-year-old starting only 19 Premier League games this season, and assurances over game time need to be sought heading towards another transfer window.
What has been said?
Ex-Bayern Munich star Ze Roberto, who earned 84 caps for Brazil, told Goal of the problems facing Jesus in England: “Guardiola is a coach that likes to experiment with lots of options, given the quality players that he has, so as a consequence Gabriel Jesus ends up lacking a run of games. And he is a player who needs to have a run of games.
“Attacking players need game time otherwise they end up losing their confidence. And a player suffering from a lack of confidence sometimes starts to see a dip in his performance.
“I think Gabriel Jesus needs to perform better and I think he needs to score more goals in total. So I have doubts whether Guardiola’s recent tactical system is the right one for Gabriel Jesus.
“I think that Gabriel Jesus needs to know how his season will be and how the next one will be. Why? Because there’s a World Cup next year.”
Jesus’ record at Man City
City bought into Jesus’ potential when luring him away from Palmeiras in a £32 million ($44m) transfer during the winter window of 2017.
He settled quickly in English football, registering seven goals through 11 appearances in his debut campaign with the Blues.
The South American frontman has remained a regular source of end product since then, breaking the 20-goal barrier in back-to-back seasons between 2018 and 2020.
He has missed 12 games through injury and a bout of coronavirus this season, preventing him from making the most of similar issues endured by fellow forward Sergio Aguero.
Jesus has only found the target on 13 occasions this term, while providing three assists, and has been an unused substitute for City’s recent outings against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-finals.
A place in the Brazil squad has been retained, with 41 caps collected in total, but regular game time will be required heading towards the Qatar World Cup in 2022.