Gabriel Jesus hopes competition between himself and Sergio Aguero can drive Manchester City towards success this season. Pep Guardiola’s side open their Premier League campaign at newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion today, where they will aim to bounce back from a trophyless 2016-17.
Jesus’ arrival from Palmeiras in January threatened to spark a title charge for City as the Brazil striker netted three times in his first two Premier League starts.
The 20-year-old’s instant impression left Aguero – largely unchallenged as the club’s premier forward since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2011 – on the bench, although Jesus suffering a broken metatarsal against Bournemouth in February earned him a reprieve.
The duo were paired together in attack during the closing weeks of last term and started City’s final pre-season friendly in tandem, each striker finding the net in a 3-0 win over West Ham in Helsinki.
Guardiola’s reported desire to bring Alexis Sanchez to the Etihad Stadium and his previously reserved praise of Aguero means the Argentina star’s future at City remains a matter of intrigue.
But Jesus maintains a good relationship with his team-mate and insists any friendly rivalry will benefit a quest for honours.
“Sergio Aguero is a high-quality player,” he said. “I’m a big fan of his, both of his football and his humility.
“But ultimately it’s the manager’s decision. If he wants us to play together we can, as we have already shown. But if he wants me to play up front alone, it’s his decision.
“I just hope that any competition between us benefits the team, that it inspires both of us to score plenty of goals for City and leads to the club winning lots of matches and trophies.”
Jesus ended last season with seven goals in eight Premier League starts, although arguably his two most famous strikes were disallowed for offside.