Men's Team

Guardiola thrilled with Akanji performance

Guardiola thrilled with Akanji performance
Pep Guardiola lavished praise on Manuel Akanji after an impressive Premier League debut in the 3-0 win at Wolves.

The Swiss defender has looked completely at home since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund and was again the perfect mix of composure and aggression as he completed the 90 minutes with a second clean sheet in three matches.

Asked what he thought of his performance, Guardiola said: “More than exceptional – he is so, so clever – whether the play is short or long - when he goes, he goes, but not too much to give away a penalty or cause falls.

“He is so aggressive to go across the opponent and has the perfect temperament to control the situation. Really, really good.

“And John (Stones) was brilliant at full-back, and I’m so happy he could do it two games in a row because we need him.”

The City boss was also asked about Jack Grealish’s post-match TV interview where he thanked his manager for standing by him.

Pep says there is no need for anyone to thank him.

“I trust unconditionally all of them and I trust him unconditionally – today he scored a goal and every time he had the ball, he was one against one when he took on the full-back all the time, all the time, all the time, but he has to play for himself and give the best of himself because that’s what I’m looking for,” said Pep.

“I’m happy with him, happy with the victory and Jack has an incredible personality to play and that’s why I’m happy for him, but they don’t have to say thank you – I just want the best of themselves every time they play – this is what we are looking for.

“He has to be who he is in the good moments and bad moments that everyone has, he has to say, ‘I am Jack Grealish, this is who I am, I go there with a good mentality and try to the best for myself and my team-mates’.

“I never say he has to score a goal – I said to try, be more aggressive (in the box), yeah.

“Kevin scored a lot of goals last season, but this year he is more about assists than goals and Gundo is an incredible runner into the box as he showed perfectly against Aston Villa last season – when we are there, everyone has permission to open the door and go to the box – nobody is not allowed to do that – everyone can do this.”

And on the straight red card that was shown after the dangerous challenge on Grealish, Pep added: “I didn’t watch it. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intentional – I don’t know if it was late or not, I didn’t see the TV replays.

I didn’t see what happened so I can’t give an opinion. I was glad Jack could continue, but I didn’t watch it.

“It was very good for us today, because 12.30pm kick-off away after the Champions League is so dangerous – the pitch was dry, but we have to admit that in all the situations today we were fortunate – we scored early, got the second one quite early as well and then there was the red card.

“The first 15-20 minutes we were so aggressive, but we were not able to control that, so our rhythm was a bit slower and in the second half the game was dangerous because they were better than us, they run more than us but after we score the third, then it was over.”

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