Gabriel Jesus has learnt a lot from Manchester City team-mate Sergio Aguero and plans to use those lessons to help Brazil knock out Argentina of the Copa America.
Jesus has largely played second fiddle to Aguero in their two years together at City, with just eight Premier League starts to his name last season.
Nonetheless, the 22-year-old forward continues to be a prolific presence in Pep Guardiola’s team after scoring 45 goals in 100 appearances. He even found the net four times in a 9-0 Carabao Cup semi-final win over Burton Albion in January.
Despite scoring three times in Brazil’s two pre-tournament friendlies this month, however, Jesus has failed to get off the mark in the Copa America.
After missing a penalty against Peru, though, the City striker recovered to slot home the decisive spot-kick to secure Brazil a 4-3 win on penalties over Paraguay to book their spot in the semi-finals.
It proved to be a welcome relief for Jesus, who follows Aguero’s example in improving himself as a player.
“I had a difficult time at City at the beginning of last season, I wasn’t well and I didn’t play much, but my family and the people who surround me helped me a lot,” said Jesus, according to Yahoo.
“I sought a physical trainer to help me and he is with me today.
“And I tried to shoot more at goal. My average of shots was very low – there were games where I didn’t have a shot on goal. That complicated things a little.
“Today I want to shoot more. That has changed a lot, at City and here with the national team. It’s one of the main things I’ve changed.
“I see other attackers like Aguero, he shoots a lot at goal and this makes things easier.
“I have learned a lot from him. But now he is on one side and I’m on another.”
Brazil will now take on South American rivals Argentina for a spot in the Copa America final on Wednesday. And, for Jesus especially, there is plenty at stake going into the clash.
The Brazilian will go up against his City team-mates Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi.
“These are two giant teams, two countries with great history in football,” said Jesus.
“Brazil, since we play at home and are in a better moment, has more pressure to win than Argentina, but it is a classic.
“I didn’t make a bet with [Aguero], he defends his team and I defend mine. But when I return [to City], I hope to tease him and Otamendi too.”