Pep Guardiola dismisses claim by Jack Grealish that it’s difficult to learn the Manchester City way


    Pep Guardiola and Jack Grealish
    Grealish and Guardiola are on the same page (Picture: Reuters)

    Pep Guardiola has shrugged off Jack Grealish’s admission he has found it hard to adapt to life at Manchester City by insisting it is ‘simple’ to play in his system.

    Grealish signed for £100million from Aston Villa in August 2021 but has scored just seven goals in that time and is not a guaranteed starter for the Premier League champions.

    The England winger admitted in an interview last week he had found it tough to find his feet at the Etihad Stadium. He said: ‘It’s so much different to what I was used to. I’d been at Villa my whole life and never had to change. I didn’t realise how hard it is to adapt to another team and another manager.’

    However, City boss Guardiola disagrees it is a big transition. ‘For me it’s not hard – the way we want to play is so simple,’ said the Spaniard. ‘Run without the ball, everyone, to help each other, and with the ball, be in the positions to get the ball in better conditions.

    ‘I read the words from Jack and I understand – at Villa they said, “Do whatever you want, move here, move there, right, left”. Here, it is completely different, you stay more in position and the ball comes where you want and sometimes you have a little bit more time for that.

    ‘We spoke a few times with Jack about positions, about tactics, and he understands completely. He’s so comfortable with that. But honestly, it’s not difficult.’ Another player who is yet to fully settle at City is Kalvin Phillips, who could finally make his first competitive start tonight – six months after arriving from Leeds in a £42m deal.

    Manchester City v Everton FC - Premier League
    Grealish is expected to play against Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-final (Picture: Getty)

    The England midfielder had shoulder surgery this season and was deemed ‘overweight’ by Guardiola following his return from the World Cup but is set to face Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-final at St Mary’s. Guardiola added: ‘He arrived this season and, unfortunately, was injured which meant he could not be there, but that’s why, step by step, he will get it.’

    The City manager also commented on the retirement of Wales captain Gareth Bale, stating the forward had been ‘too expensive’ for him to sign. ‘What a player,’ said Guardiola. ‘Fantastic career, won a lot of things. Now he can become a fantastic golf player.’

    MORE : ‘That is what we know’ – Jack Grealish warns Manchester City are waiting for Arsenal to slip up

    MORE : ‘He’ll be a fantastic golfer!’ – Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reacts to Gareth Bale’s retirement

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