Lillo impressed by Kovacic adaptation

Juanma Lillo admits he hasn’t been surprised by how swiftly Mateo Kovacic has settled into life at Manchester City.

The midfielder became our first summer signing after enjoying five successful seasons at fellow Premier League side Chelsea.

The Croatian international has helped Pep Guardiola’s men begin the 2023/24 Premier League campaign with successive victories and pick up the UEFA Super Cup for the first time in our history.

Kovacic has slotted seamlessly into the City midfield in those opening weeks of the season, something our assistant coach expected to happen.

Lillo explained: “I can't really talk about a player in isolation. Nevertheless, I don’t think we were going to be surprised that players from the Balkans have no difficulties adapting.

“They [tend to] adapt rather quickly.

“Mateo is a very singular player which helps him and on the personal side of things he’s very adaptable.

“It also happened at Real Madrid, where he was happy, so I hear from my contacts. Everyone spoke very highly of him.”

Hear Juanma's pre-match thoughts in full via the video above...


You can follow all the build-up to the clash on the official Man City app with live updates starting at 12:00 (UK) on our Matchday Centre and that will continue until the game’s completion, as well as all the best post-match reaction.

Our Matchday Live programme will begin just before the teams are announced at around 13:00 (UK).

This weekend’s special guests Shaun Goater, Gareth Taylor and Keith Curle will join Natalie Pike in the studio to provide City-centric analysis before, during and after the match.


The guests will also answer viewer questions throughout the broadcast, with audience participation actively encouraged on the show.

To get in touch send a Whatsapp to: +447537186538.

During the game you can listen to live audio commentary from Alistair Mann and Andy Morrison while our text commentary continues.

On top of that, we’ll have post-match reaction from the assistant manager and the players available shortly after the final whistle.

Short highlights will be available at 17:45 (UK), with extended highlights and the full-match replay, available on CITY+ and Recast, accessible from midnight.