Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola hopeful Gabriel Jesus will play for Man City again this season

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested Gabriel Jesus could be back in action soon after making a swift recovery from a broken foot.

Brazil striker Jesus returned to light training on Monday, seven weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the metatarsal fractured in February's Premier League victory at Bournemouth.

There were fears the impressive new signing - who turned 20 on Monday - could miss the rest of the season but City are pleased with his progress.

Guardiola said: "Yesterday was the first day he started to go to the pitch to run and walk. I don't know exactly how many weeks he needs to come back but I think he is at the end of the part of the process to come back, so we will see.

"Hopefully he can help us in the last games at the end of the season."

City have nine Premier League games remaining while they are also still involved in the FA Cup.

Their hopes of winning the title appear to be over as they trail leaders Chelsea by 11 points but they could still have an influence in the race as they travel to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

City also need the points to strengthen their grip on a top-four place in what is a tight battle between the top six.

Guardiola said: "Chelsea deserve (to be) where they are. They won an amount of points and were winning an amount of games in a row.

"It is another game - nine left, we have to take points as much as possible to be there and after we will see.

"It is so important for all six teams to qualify for the Champions League. There will be a battle until the end. To be in Europe is so important, in financial terms and in prestige."

Guardiola does feel Chelsea's domestic dominance has been aided by their lack of European football this season but not to a significant degree.

He said: "For Chelsea, the focus they have is to win the title. Obviously they play less games than the other ones. They and Liverpool have played much much less, they have had more time to prepare what the manager wants to prepare.

"But it doesn't matter what my opinion is. Chelsea will be in Europe next season and a tough team again. All the players they have quality and mentality to play two or three competitions at the same time."

Statistics show that City have struck the woodwork 17 times in the Premier League this season but Guardiola is not cursing his luck.

He said: "There are a lot of things we can improve with the posts. One would be make goals bigger but it will not happen!

"Seventeen posts is a lot this year but there are a lot of things we wanted to control but couldn't. We want to look for the reason behind what we have to improve. We don't want to focus on good luck or bad luck."

Right-back Bacary Sagna will miss the trip to Chelsea with the groin injury which ruled him out of Sunday's draw at Arsenal.

"Bacary is out two or three weeks more," Guardiola said.

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