Guardiola eyes Jesus return

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MANCHESTER CITY striker Gabriel Jesus could be back in training within two to three weeks and is set to be fit for next month’s Champions League tie against Basle, manager Pep Guardiola said yesterday.

Jesus was carried off with medial knee ligament damage during the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on December 31 and the initial diagnosis was that he faced up to six weeks out, leaving him in a race to be fit by mid-February.

But the Brazil international, 20, has responded well to a visit to Barcelona this week, to be treated by Ramon Cugat, the surgeon Guardiola regularly turns to when his players are battling serious injuries.

“Yesterday, he was in Barcelona with Dr Cugat, and at the end, the news was quite good,” said the City boss, who has been short of striking options since the injury to Jesus.

“When we play Basle in the Champions League, he could be ready. I think, in two or three weeks he’ll be ready and with us.”

City, who lead the Premier League by a gaping 15 points, play the Swiss side in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie on February 13.

The City boss said the match against in-form Liverpool at Anfield would give him a good idea of how far his team could go in the Champions League this season.

“It is a real test at Anfield, one of the most prestigious stadiums,” he said. “It’s a big game for us and we’re going to prepare as best as possible.

“If you want to achieve something good, win titles, you have to not just win but win at these kind of stages. At Stamford Bridge we were able. Old Trafford we were able.

“We’ve still got tough teams to come. It is such an important game to see if we are able to do big things – especially in the Champions League stages.

“It means a lot in terms of how complicated it is to play there.” — SuperSport

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