By Andy Hampson, PA
Gabriel Jesus has hailed Manchester City team-mate Bernardo Silva as one of the best players in the world.
Brazil striker Jesus grabbed the headlines by netting a 76th-minute winner as City came from behind to secure their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 victory over Paris St Germain on Wednesday.
Yet having been set up by a delicate volleyed lay-off from Silva, Jesus was quick to deflect the praise onto the Portuguese.
Silva, who had hoped to leave City in the summer, has been one of the side’s best players so far this season and was recently described by manager Pep Guardiola as “undroppable”.
Jesus said: “In my opinion Bernardo is one of the best players in the world right now because his quality as a football player is incredible, and he has another thing – that he always works so hard.
“He is a player I love. It doesn’t matter when in the game, he likes to work and have the ball.
“He doesn’t get the credits because he doesn’t score or make assists a lot, but if you watch him play football you will enjoy it.”
— Gabriel Jesus (@gabrieljesus9) November 24, 2021
City took the game to PSG in a pulsating encounter at the Etihad Stadium and thoroughly deserved their success.
The hosts created a series of chances in the first half and PSG’s much-vaunted front three of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi were deprived of service.
Despite that, it was Mbappe who struck first, against the run of play, early in the second period.
City responded well with Raheem Sterling grabbing the equaliser just after the hour and Jesus coming off the bench to complete the comeback.
“I enjoyed it,” said Jesus. “As a Manchester City player I want to help all the time, so I can come in and help my team-mates.
“It was a great ball from Bernardo. I had to score because it was a top ball.”
That goal made it a disappointing night in Manchester for PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has been heavily linked with the managerial vacancy across town at United.
The French side can, however, look forward to the knockout stages after Leipzig’s 5-0 defeat of Club Brugge ensured they would go through as group runners-up.
Indeed, with Leipzig 4-0 up at half-time, it was clear throughout the second half there was less riding on events in Manchester.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 24, 2021
Yet City did not play as if the game was academic, as evidenced by Jesus’ cynical foul on Brazil team-mate Neymar, for which he was booked, to protect the result in stoppage time.
“I said to him sorry because we are brothers,” Jesus said. “I never go to injure anyone, I tried to stop the game because I know his quality. He can score any time. He can win any game.
“I stopped him, but then after the game I said, ‘Sorry, I had to’. He said, ‘I would do the same!’”