Jack Grealish: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola defends record signing form

Pep Guardiola has launched a defense of Jack Grealish, noting that it is his responsibility and that of the rest of his Manchester City team to make the most of the club’s record signing.

Grealish was substituted ahead of the hour of Wednesday’s Champions League group stage win against Borussia Dortmund after struggling to make an impact and is yet to score in five games this season.

The 27-year-old has just six goals and four assists since joining from Aston Villa for £100million last year, a transfer that made him the most expensive player in British football history.

Grealish has nonetheless been called up in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man England squad for the forthcoming Nations League clashes against Italy and Germany and is expected to be on a plane to Qatar in November for this winter’s World Cup.

Guardiola attributed Grealish’s form to an ankle injury that disrupted his start to the season but also defended his performance against Dortmund, instead claiming his own team-mates had left him “isolated” by not taking any goalscoring positions.

“He started really well but had to stop because of an ankle problem and we were lucky that it wasn’t worse,” said the City coach.

“In the last game in the last third he was the only attacking player running aggressively one-on-one but to provide assists he didn’t have his mates in the box so we left him isolated. When he goes against the full-back, only Erling [Haaland] was there.

“[Ilkay] Gundo[gan] wasn’t there Kevin [De Bruyne] wasn’t there and they should be there. In the first half we didn’t make any movements, especially with the ball, to help the player with the ball and give him more opportunities to make it easier.”

Guardiola added: “I know him and I am beyond happy and enthusiastic about what he is doing. Now it’s just a matter of time to get some of that momentum back that he had earlier in the season.”

Grealish’s lack of goals and assists for City has been widely criticized since his arrival in the summer of 2021 but Guardiola has always insisted there is more to his game despite not having been a great attacking player in the past.

The 27-year-old’s highest-scoring season during his eight years as a Villa player was the 2019/20 season – the only season in which he was in double figures in all competitions – when he scored 10 goals to defeat his newly promoted player keep youth club survives relegation.

Even with England, his only goal in 23 caps was the fifth in a 5-0 win over Minnows Andorra last year, but Grealish was included in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man squad this week for the forthcoming Nations League clashes against Italy and Germany .

“We didn’t sign for Aston Villa’s incredible goals or assists. It was another reason and when he played he did it,” Guardiola pointed out. “He also competes with top, top players and he knows it perfectly but he never complains about it.

“He’s such a nice guy and in the games he hasn’t played he’s the first to help the team and in the training sessions he’s always there. I am amazed by his behavior and everything.

“I want to score and I want to make assists and he does too, but that’s not the point. It’s about his contribution off the ball and what he can do for the others and the many, many things he can do.”

When asked what he expects from Grealish, Guardiola said: “To understand us and we can understand him and have just that little bit of continuity that I’m trying to give him because he deserves it.

“It’s supposed to be what he is as a footballer. All the time we ask you to be yourself, don’t think about being what people expect you to be.

“Be yourself, as a person and especially as a football player, and that has to be your only concern, to try to be better today than yesterday and tomorrow you have to be better than today. I will not ask them to do anything they cannot or do not want to do.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/jack-grealish-man-city-news-b2168984.html Jack Grealish: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola defends record signing form

Fry Electronics Team

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