Gabriel Jesus said his mother’s arrival in England has improved his confidence as he ended his Premier League goal drought to help Manchester City return to the top of the table.
Jesus had not scored a league goal since August – a run of 11 games and 487 minutes – but netted twice before Raheem Sterling added City’s third.
The Brazil forward, who signed for City in 2017 and extended his contract until 2023 earlier this season, has recently been joined in Manchester by his mother.
“My confidence is back because my family is here with me,” said the 21-year-old. “They help me a lot. It is easy for me because they are everything. I need my family in this moment.”
City manager Pep Guardiola said: “He settled so well from the beginning – but it is much better his family is here and strikers need to score goals. He scored two nice goals that will be important for him.”
City will stay top for at least another day, with Liverpool needing to beat Manchester United at Anfield today to reclaim their place at the summit.
This victory, City’s 10th in a row at home in the league, was rarely in serious doubt once Jesus had fired his side ahead on a bitterly cold day at Etihad Stadium.
Yerry Mina’s misplaced pass allowed Ilkay Gundogan to find Leroy Sane in space, and he sent Jesus galloping into the area to score with a fine low finish. Jesus only had to wait another 28 minutes for his second of the game.
When it arrived just after half-time, Sane was the provider again – with Jesus meeting his precise cross to plant an unstoppable header past Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford.
City looked in complete control but Everton gave themselves hope just after the hour when Dominic Calvert Lewin met Lucas Digne’s cross to reduce the deficit.
The visitors were only briefly back in it, however, with substitute Sterling – a week after suffering alleged racial abuse during City’s defeat at Chelsea – heading in Fernandinho’s cross four minutes later with his first touch.
It was enough to ensure City, whose loss at Stamford Bridge last weekend was their first in the league this season, are back in a familiar position at the top.
Kevin de Bruyne, back from a knee injury that has kept him out of action since 1 November, also came off the bench before the end to give the home fans further reason to cheer.