Men's Team

Guardiola has made me a more complete player, says Cancelo

Guardiola has made me a more complete player, says Cancelo
Joao Cancelo has paid tribute to the huge impact that City boss Pep Guardiola has had on his own development and revealed how the guidance of the City boss has helped make him a ‘more complete player’.

The Portuguese defender, who moved to City from Juventus in the summer of 2019, has been a key factor in our rise to the top of the Premier League and quest for success on three other fronts.

Ostensibly an attacking full-back, this season Cancelo has also been deployed to great effect in a roaming role in midfield where has proved a revelation, earning widespread praise for his vision, energy and spatial awareness.

Reflecting on the season so far and looking ahead to Wednesday’s latest Premier League game at home to Southampton, Cancelo was quick to praise the role Guardiola had played in helping him adapt to that new, revolutionary role.

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“He has had a huge influence on my role here at Manchester City,” Cancelo revealed in describing the impact of working under the boss.

“I was always used to play as a right back, but now I have learnt how to play in the midfield, with my back against the opponent's goal.

“It’s a completely different role and I give all the credit to Pep Guardiola for thinking about that and helping me develop in a different position on the pitch, in the midfield, alongside Rodri and Fernandinho, for instance.

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“I feel like a more complete player now, both technically and tactically

“I am privileged to work every day under the command of Pep Guardiola and he encouraged me a lot, so I feel like I'm a better player now.”

Cancelo’s adaptability has proved especially crucial in this most demanding of seasons with City having effectively played three games a week throughout the campaign.

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The Portugual star says he has evolved in terms of positional play throughout his career to date.

And for his part, the 26-year-old revealed he is more than happy to try and help the team in whichever way he can.

“When I was a kid, I used to play as a winger on both sides. When I arrived at Benfica, I started playing as a full-back,” Cancelo recalled.

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“At Valencia, I played sometimes as a winger as well. So, my position has been changing over the years.

“My favourite position is right-back, but I have always liked to be versatile and do different things on the pitch.

“I think a player with my skills can play in more than one position and that also helps the team when necessary.

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“When there are injuries in other positions, I can cover for my teammates, so I think that is beneficial for the team in the long term.

“I always try to give my best no matter what position I play and help the team to achieve its goals.”

City will play host to Southampton on Wednesday looking to bounce back from Sunday’s 2-0 derby loss to Manchester United.

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Though frustrated to see our record-breaking run of 21 straight wins brought to a halt, Cancelo says the loss has armed the squad with even greater desire to kick on for the remainder of the campaign with City vying for silverware on four fronts.

“As everybody knows, we won 21 games in a row, which is an amazing achievement,” Cancelo reflected.

“We did very well during the whole run. Just because we lost a game doesn’t mean we are going to stop playing well.

“In football, the best way to bounce back is to win the next game straight away.

“That's what we are going to try to do, we are going to start with the ambition of winning the three points against Southampton.

“We are focused and we are all motivated to bounce back.”

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