MX23RW : Monday, February 18 06:53:18

Jesus happy to rise to the occasion with Champions League treble

Jesus happy to rise to the occasion with Champions League treble
© Reuters
Striker scored half of Manchester City's six.

Gabriel Jesus insisted he had not been feeling the pressure before roaring back to form with a hat-trick in Manchester City's 6-0 demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk.

Coming after a poor World Cup, the Brazil striker had made an underwhelming start to the campaign with just two goals and only seven starts.

The 21-year-old started to put that behind him in the Champions League on Wednesday as he netted two penalties at the Etihad Stadium – although the first was awarded in farcical circumstances – and chipped the goalkeeper to claim his first City treble.

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates with the matchball
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates with the matchball (Martin Rickett/PA)

"It was a very special night for me," Jesus said. "I've been working very hard.

"I never enter in the pitch under pressure to score goals but I know my position requires me to score goals.

"If I am helping my team-mates in some way, giving assistance, passing the ball, I'll already be very happy but but, of course, in my position I have to score."

Jesus dedicated his hat-trick to his mother, Vera Lucia Diniz de Jesus, who had been at the game.

"With my mother's presence here – the three goals went to her," he said.

City proved far too strong for the Ukrainians, overpowering them for a second time in a fortnight to take command of Group F and move closer to qualification for the last 16.

They were aided by a huge slice of luck for their second goal, however, after David Silva had given them an early lead. Raheem Sterling was unchallenged when he fell in the area after stubbing his toe and Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai remarkably awarded a penalty.

Jesus accepted the chance and later grabbed another from the spot after Silva was felled. Between the penalties Sterling scored a stunning goal and City wrapped up the win with a late effort from Mahrez and Jesus' cool injury-time lob.

The win should put City in good heart heading into Sunday's derby against Manchester United but Jesus feels the team can still get better.

The decision to award Manchester City a penalty was wrong
The decision to award Manchester City a penalty was wrong (Martin Rickett/PA)

"We cannot be in the comfort zone ever," he said. "I do not like that, it does not help anyone.

"We have to improve a lot. Who does not have to improve?

"We're getting better but we cannot let it fall. We had a great game here but we missed opportunities. I missed one.

"But I am very happy to help my team and I hope that team will continue like this, playing well and making goals."

Team-mate Bernardo Silva was pleased to see Jesus back among the goals.

It was a fine night for City as they ran riot
It was a fine night for City as they ran riot (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Portuguese said: "He has been a little but unlucky at the beginning of the season, so this is really nice. He works very hard and we are all very happy for him, well deserved. We just hope he can continue scoring."

United will go into the derby on the back of a stunning comeback win at Juventus

"It was a good win for United but a fantastic game for us as well," Silva said. "Both teams arrive on Sunday with a lot of confidence. We just hope we can have a great game and Manchester City wins on the end of it."


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Raheem Sterling goes down during the Champions League group game between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk on November 7, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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