Mens Team

Guardiola sounds salute to 'outstanding' Cancelo

Guardiola sounds salute to 'outstanding' Cancelo
Pep Guardiola has highlighted the ‘outstanding’ contribution made by City defender Joao Cancelo so far this season.

After bedding in at the Club during his first season at the Etihad following his move from Juventus in the summer of 2019, Cancelo has significantly kicked on again this term.

The Portuguese defender has emerged as one of City’s standout performers so far this season with his positional flexibility, consistency, cutting edge in attack and stamina all catching the eye.

And, addressing the media ahead of Wednesday’s return to Premier League action at home to Brighton, the manager was quick to praise the 26-year-old’s significant contribution so far this season.

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“Joao’s physicality is incredible. The day after a game he can play again with his regeneration. This is so important for us, having players who are fit,” Guardiola asserted.

“Last season he struggled with a new club and new ideas. He was confused in the beginning.

"He expected something we could not offer him.

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“Now he has settled and is giving us what we need.

“He is a nice guy with a great heart.

“The last game (against Birmingham) he was tired, so he played just 45 minutes, hopefully tomorrow he can get back if he is selected.

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“Otherwise, he has been outstanding (this season).”

Asked whether Cancelo was unique in the tactical flexibility he offered, Guardiola insisted he he several players who could be deployed in a similar role.

But he stressed the importance that Cancelo’s adaptability playing further forward in a central role provided to the team.

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“Alex (Zinchenko) can play there too (in Cancelo’s flexible role). Benjamin (Mendy) and (Kyle) Walker can play in this position. It depends on the opposition,” the boss added.

“I have to know he can do it for his qualities. He can do it and he can do it from the outside as well.

“The alternatives he gives us are so important.”

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