Gabriel Jesus: Man City no longer have a first-choice striker

Gabriel Jesus says there is no Manchester City striker hierarchy and that Pep Guardiola will decide between the Brazilian and Sergio Aguero based on form.

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Jesus and Aguero started alongside each other for the first time this season during Sunday's 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough.

Both players got on the scoresheet, but only after Guardiola was forced to abandon the system he had hoped would enable to play both strikers at once.

It appears from the City boss' post-match comments that he will not use the system again this season, regardless of a potential injury to Aguero, nor will he play both in his preferred 4-3-3 system.

Jesus had dislodged Aguero from the starting line-up upon his arrival at City earlier this year, but a tense situation was averted when the Brazilian broke his foot, ruling him out for 10 weeks and allowing the Argentine a reprieve.

But, with the chances of them playing alongside one another appearing slim, Jesus says Guardiola will pick whichever of the two is in the best form, which also makes plain that Aguero is no longer the undisputed No.1.

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"There isn't a starter or a reserve," Jesus told reporters. "The one in a better moment will play. It's good. It's the coach's decision. We will fight for our place somehow."

Despite his goal, Jesus largely toiled at the Riverside Stadium, though his team-mates did find it difficult to get the youngster into the game as they struggled in Guardiola's first-half system.

And he also admits that he found it difficult to get back into the swing of things after his lengthy injury lay-off.

"I'm a little tired, that's normal," he added. "I am sad that I didn't play what I know, but with almost three months out, it's normal. Let's work hard this week to be better on the next game.

"I've never been out for so much time, but I'm happy to be back, doing what I love. Now I have to train and play, train and play to try to secure a place in the Champions League."

Sergio Aguero Gabriel Jesus Manchester City Boro

Meanwhile, City captain Vincent Kompany insisted his side's preparation was good enough for Sunday's game, which would have moved City into third place in the Premier League table had they won.

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But he warned that he will "swing the hammer" if motivation drops ahead of the final four games of the season, with City needing to win all their matches to be guaranteed of a top-four finish.

"Our preparation was good for Boro, and it's been good for most of our games," he said.

“I'd swing the hammer if I had to, if I thought there was a lack of motivation or lack of desire. That's something we shouldn't allow, but I really believe that's not the case.

“Finish strongly now and we give ourselves something to look forward to next season, because you want to be in four competitions.

“Sometimes exceptional seasons are built on seasons like this."

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