Palmeiras coach defends Gabriel Jesus amid goal drought
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 31 (IANS) Palmeiras coach Cuca has leapt to the defence of Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus after the teenager's goalless run in the Brazilian Serie A football championship extended to seven matches.
Gabriel looked out of sorts as Palmeiras lost 0-1 away to Santos on Saturday. Despite the result, the Sao Paulo outfit remain firm title favourites, leading second-placed Flamengo by five points with five matches remaining, reports Xinhua.
"He's being heavily marked," Cuca said on Sunday. "We tried him at center forward then on the left, then on the right but he wasn't able to find space. It was just one of those days. It happens with all great players."
Jesus, who scored 10 goals from his first 14 league matches this season, has netted just once for Palmeiras since being signed by Manchester City in August.
However his form at international level has been superb, with four goals from as many matches.
"Despite being so young he is crucial to the team," Cuca said. "I have to try to help him rediscover his best form so that he can make a difference in the home straight."
Jesus will join his new club Manchester City in January.