Pep Guardiola believes Jack Grealish has adjusted to life at Manchester City better than most critics give him credit for.
Grealish, who joined from Aston Villa in a £100m deal this summer, has managed two goals and three assists across his 15 appearances in all competitions, 13 of which have come as a starter.
The numbers are a little underwhelming for a player of Grealish’s price tag, but Guardiola urged his detractors to stop looking at statistics and instead consider his impact on the team when judging the England international.
“My opinion is he’s been playing much better than he or other people believe, when you see his actions,” Guardiola said (via The Independent).
“I would say he’s settled perfectly. Always you need a bit of time but, if you analyse the games, has he played bad? Absolutely not.
“With the quality he has it’s difficult to play bad but, with the way we play, with the expectations, [playing] every three days, it is completely different from what he did in Birmingham.”
However, Guardiola did stress how important it is that Grealish finds his best form as soon as possible, with City looking to win trophies immediately and not a few years down the line.
When asked if it could be next season before Grealish starts shining, Guardiola said: “I don’t think so, [or] we’ll be in trouble. We have to see it right now, the best.
“We have six or seven months and a lot of nice things ahead of us. I’m not thinking we’re going to see the best Jack Grealish next season. I want to see it this season, absolutely.”
Grealish himself confessed to The Telegraph that he has struggled to adjust to his new role at City, admitting he got too used to being Aston Villa’s undisputed focal point.
“I’ve got so much more to give,” he said. “I’ve found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would, adapting to a different manager and team-mates. At first I thought I’d have more of the ball, get more assists and goals but it doesn’t work like that at all. I’ve had nowhere near as much of the ball as I used to get at Villa.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled, but I found it hard to get used to at the start. I’ve not had the assists and goals I got last season, but I’m never one to doubt myself.”