Interviews

Catching up with Ake: Form, focus and his father's influence

Nathan Ake says he feels fully settled into City life and 'more like himself' this season.

The defender, who joined the Club in August 2020 from Bournemouth, endured a challenging debut campaign in sky blue with injuries but has enjoyed more regular minutes this term.

Ahead of tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg visit of Real Madrid, we caught up with the Dutchman, who reflected on his impressive recent performances.

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"I think this season has been much better than last season," he told mancity.com. "Last season was difficult for me personally in terms of injuries but also trying to do too much, show myself too much...

"Most of the time, that backfires - you start to make mistakes, play differently... This season, I've been much more relaxed and like myself.

"I know last season was not how I normally play. It was a new experience, new everything... The start was okay but I had to cope with a lot of injuries, which I've never really experienced.

"When you get more gametime, you start to get into a rhythm, more like yourself, and hopefully I'll continue that. Even last season, every game, you have to perform well because every position has top-class players.

"With the gametime you get, you have to try and perform, do well for your team and make sure you get the win. The strong is so strong, so good that it lifts everyone.

"I'm enjoying it at the moment but I can obviously improve and do better."

Ake endured a difficult period in September. Shortly after the defender had scored his first Champions League goal, his father sadly passed away.

The goal marked a bittersweet moment for the Dutchman and spoke of his father's influence in his footballing career.

"It was a great goal," he reflected. "Everyone knows it was a tough period in my life personally, outside of football. To get that goal for my family and myself - my first one [in the Champions League] - was probably the best moment in my football career, for sure.

"To be able to do that at a stage like that and with all the things that happened after... It was a strange day with so many emotions but in the end, I look back with pride."

On his father, he added: "He was great. He always helped me with everything - when I was young, bringing me to the game as every father does with players to be fair, riding everywhere on the bike because he didn't really like to drive!

"We always had to go very early or we drove with other people but he was everywhere. He loved football and he was always so proud of us - me and my brother. It was a difficult time."

Ake also discussed the City defence's sheer desire not to concede, reflecting on his crucial goalline clearance against Arsenal, as well as his hopes for the remainder of the campaign.

Watch the video above to hear what Nathan had to say...

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