Gabriel Jesus admits his knee problems have been at the back of his mind during his recent return to action for Manchester City.
The Brazil striker, who was sidelined for two months after suffering ligament damage on New Year’s Eve, stepped up his comeback by starting in Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Basel.
It did not prove enough to prevent City’s first loss at the Etihad Stadium for 15 months, with the Swiss side coming back to win 2-1, but progress to the quarter-finals was still comfortably secured 5-2 on aggregate.
“But, as you are playing more and more, you are going to get that fear away and play your football.
“I think I still played with some fear, there’s some movements when I still have some worries about getting injured again.
“I know anything can happen but I’m sure that the more you play, the quicker that fear is going to go away.”
“Physically, I’m feeling very well,” he said. “Tactically too. I’m a bit sad for the result, that’s not what we wanted, but I’m happy we have got through to the next round.”
City looked to have picked up where they left off after last month’s 4-0 first-leg win over Basel as Jesus turned home Bernardo Silva’s low cross.
But after making six changes for an ultimately inconsequential game, City lacked intensity and Basel hit back to restore some pride with goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang.
Jesus now hopes to play a part as City look to wrap up the Premier League title and continue in Europe, but he has issues about having to bide his time behind Sergio Aguero, who has hit form in his absence.
Jesus is of a similar opinion of Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino when it comes to international duty.
He said: “We compete for the position but we’re friends as well. If Firmino is doing well, I’m happy for him.”
Jesus, who had a similar problem last season, said: “Neymar sent me a message right after his injury. I told him how I felt and how my recovery was. He is a fighter and everything is going to be fine.”