MX23RW : Friday, February 22 09:02:09

Gabriel Jesus ‘not happy’ with decision to hand Riyad Mahrez penalty

The Algerian blazed Manchester City’s late spot-kick over against Liverpool on Sunday and Jesus felt he should have taken it.

Gabriel Jesus admits he was disappointed not to be allowed to take Manchester City’s late penalty in Sunday’s goalless draw at Liverpool.

Riyad Mahrez fired over from 12 yards five minutes from time as the Premier League champions spurned the chance to win at Anfield for only the second time in 37 years.

With regular penalty-taker Sergio Aguero off the field, Jesus showed his interest when referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot but manager Pep Guardiola sent out a message telling him to defer to Mahrez.

Jesus (right) accepted an apology from manager Pep Guardiola
Jesus, right, had thought he should take the spot-kick (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Obviously I’m not happy,” said Jesus. “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.”

Guardiola said that he had been impressed by Mahrez’s penalty-taking in training but later admitted he had been unaware the £60million summer signing had missed four of his previous seven spot-kicks.

The City boss went on to say sorry to Jesus and the Brazilian accepted the apology.

The 21-year-old striker, who has scored just two goals this season, said: “Pep spoke with me. This is part of football, sometimes these things happen. I will support Riyad if the manager chooses him again.”

Mahrez put a brave face on his error, which saw him blast well over the bar.

The Algerian said: “It is part of football, you have to go forward and stay strong. Sometimes you score, sometimes you miss.

“But the most important thing is the performance was very good.”

Mahrez blazed his spot-kick over the bar
Mahrez blazed his spot-kick over the bar (Martin Rickett/PA)

The result left City, Liverpool and Chelsea in a three-way tie for the Premier League lead on 20 points after eight games.

Despite the penalty miss, Guardiola declared himself happy with the point. After losing twice at Anfield last season, the City boss modified his tactics to nullify Liverpool’s threat.

Mahrez felt the approach served the team well.

The former Leicester forward said: “We were very strong defensively. It showed we can do both – have the ball and be very strong as well.

“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. It’s a good draw and we deserved to win.”

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