EPL

'I trust him unconditionally' – Guardiola has no doubts over Grealish

By Sports Desk September 17, 2022

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola trusts Jack Grealish "unconditionally" and has urged the England star to express himself more. 

Grealish scored his first goal of the season after 55 seconds in the 3-0 Premier League win over Wolves on Saturday.

Erling Haaland and Phil Foden added further goals as City stretched their unbeaten away run in the English top flight to 22 games – the longest such run in the club's league history.

Grealish thanked Guardiola for putting him in from the start after he was substituted in the 58th minute of the Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund in midweek, but the City boss is not interested in gratitude from his players.

"I unconditionally trust all of them and I trust him unconditionally," Guardiola said. "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.

"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 for themselves every time they play – this is what we are looking for.

"He has to be who he is in the good moments and in 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'."

Guardiola was full of praise for former Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji, who made his Premier League debut at Molineux, hailing the 27-year-old's "perfect temperament".

"He was more than exceptional," Guardiola said. "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 fouls.

"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."

Related items

  • Wiegman and Mead sickened by U.S. women's soccer abuse Wiegman and Mead sickened by U.S. women's soccer abuse

    Sarina Wiegman and Beth Mead warned the abuse suffered by professional women footballers is not just restricted to the United States.

    U.S. Soccer on Monday released the findings of the year-long investigation, led by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, after over 200 interviews had taken place.

    The report stated that over the nearly 10-year history of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), "numerous coaches have verbally or emotionally abused players".

    It also found that "several are alleged to have committed serious sexual misconduct during and/or before their time in the League".

    England, who won the women's Euros earlier this year, face the USA in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Friday.

    At a press conference ahead of the match, Wiegman said: "My first reaction is that it’s horrible, unacceptable that it's still happening.

    "I feel very, very sorry for all the victims and it should stop immediately, I think we all agree on that.

    "I think it's a worldwide problem still and it’s just really the time now to all step up and stop these things. Whatever abuse it is, it's horrible and unacceptable."

    Mead echoed her manager's sentiment, insisting governing bodies must do more.

    "When I found out I was quite sickened by the situation. It's a worldwide problem but women need to be taken seriously a lot more," Mead said.

    "I'm very proud of the victims that stood up and said it. People need to start doing better, the US governing body needs to do better, worldwide we need to do better."

    Asked if the England team were planning a show of solidarity with their opposition on Friday, Mead added: "We're in contact with the American team and some of the players and we're working on something to show our support for them.

    "Nothing's been finalised yet, but we will be doing something."

    Mead and her England team-mates have made strides to push on the women's game in the country, with their European glory marking the nation's first major success since the men's team won the 1966 World Cup.

    "I would say so, we feel like we've got a good platform to make a difference," Mead, who scored 20 goals and assisted 17 in 19 matches for England in the 2021–22 season, replied when asked if the team felt empowered to make their voices heard.

    "We wrote the open letter about P.E. in schools for girls and we want to use our platform for the greater good of the women's game and women's sport in general. It's something we're more confident about but we also have the full support of the FA and everyone involved that helps a lot."

    Mead added it was "about time" for celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Lionesses, which will also take place at Wembley on Friday.

    "We know as players we wouldn’t be here today without the women that have come before us," she said.

    "[They're] incredible women. It's nice that we can celebrate what they've done just as much as we've done. It's nice that they've got a voice now."

  • Sampaoli returns to Sevilla as LaLiga club replace Lopetegui Sampaoli returns to Sevilla as LaLiga club replace Lopetegui

    Jorge Sampaoli has been appointed as Sevilla coach for the second time, with the former Argentina boss succeeding Julen Lopetegui.

    The 62-year-old, who was in charge of Marseille last season, was originally handed the top job at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in June 2016, succeeding Unai Emery.

    During his lone year at the club, he took them to a fourth-place finish in LaLiga, and the round of 16 in the Champions League.

    Now, he returns following Lopetegui's exit amid a dismal start to the 2022-23 season for Sevilla, with the club 17th in LaLiga and similarly adrift in Europe following a 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

    Sampaoli's immediate remit will be ensuring a swift turnaround in fortunes for the club, starting with this weekend's clash with Athletic Club. He has signed a deal running until the end of June 2024.

    A return trip to Dortmund will present an opportunity for Sevilla to potentially turn around their flagging fortunes in the Champions League.

  • Kane leads tributes to 'truly remarkable' coach Ventrone Kane leads tributes to 'truly remarkable' coach Ventrone

    Harry Kane has paid his respects to "truly remarkable man" Gian Piero Ventrone following the Tottenham fitness coach's death.

    Tottenham confirmed on Thursday that Ventrone, who joined the club last November as part of Antonio Conte's backroom staff, had passed away.

    Ventrone was nicknamed 'The Marine' because of his tough training sessions, yet he was well respected by Tottenham's players.

    Kane was among those to pay tribute to Ventrone on social media, saying he will forever be grateful for the advice received from the Italian.

    "A truly remarkable man. I'm devastated by the passing of our coach Gian Piero," Kane posted. "My love and strength is with his family at this time. 

    "His words and wisdom will live on with me for the rest of my life and I'm just grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with him. RIP Prof."

    Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Ventrone died on Thursday in Naples at the age of 62 after a battle with leukaemia.

    Ventrone spent a decade at Juventus and also worked for Catania, JS Suning, GZ Evergrande and Ajaccio, prior to reuniting with Conte in north London.

    He was credited with helping to drive a radical improvement in the Tottenham players' fitness, with forward Richarlison among those to benefit following his arrival from Everton.

    "Since I arrived at Tottenham, Gian has been a huge inspiration to me," the Brazil international said. "He always said that I would help him a lot during the season.

    "But who helped me was him... much more than he can imagine. Today we woke up to the terrible news of his passing and we are all devastated.

    "We will continue to play for you, my friend, who taught us to never give up! Thank you so much and rest in peace!"

    Ventrone had two stints at Juventus between 1996 and 1999 and 2001 and 2004, helping to shape the side that won the Champions League in the first of those spells.

    The Italian giants paid their own tribute on Thursday in a statement on their official website.

    The statement read: "We will always remember his attention to detail, his work philosophy, and perhaps his greatest talent, the understanding that football – and especially the fundamental components of conditioning and athleticism – was gradually entering a new era.

    "A new era that, in part, he helped write."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.