Man City's Guardiola defends under-fire Grealish

AFP / Oli Scarff

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola sprung to the defence of Jack Grealish amid criticism of his attacking output, saying the Premier League champions had not signed the midfielder for his goals and assists.

The England international scored six goals and recorded 10 assists for Aston Villa in the 2020-21 Premier League season before joining City in August last year for a league record fee of 100 million pounds (AED 419 million).

However, Grealish has struggled to replicate those numbers since moving to Manchester and has failed to score or assist this season.

The 27-year-old was criticised for his performance in City's 2-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday after he was unable to influence the game and was taken off as part of a triple change in the 58th minute.

"We didn't sign him for the incredible goals and assists he got at Aston Villa. It was another reason," Guardiola told reporters ahead of City's league trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers later on Saturday.

"When he played, he did it, but he competes with the top, top players as well. He knows it perfectly but never complains. He's a nice guy. In the game, he's one of the first players to help the team, and in training sessions, he's always there.

"So I'm delighted about his behaviour and everything. He understands us, we can understand him, and he just needs to have a little bit of continuity that I tried to give him and because he deserves it."

City is second in the league, trailing leaders Arsenal by one point, while Wolves are 15th in the standings.

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