LONDON. — Jack Grealish has candidly opened up about his struggles to adapt to life at Manchester City after setting up their winner against Chelsea on Thursday night.
The winger came off the bench to grab an assist for Riyad Mahrez in a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, moving them five points behind English Premiership football leaders Arsenal.
Grealish joined City in the summer of 2021 for a British record £100million fee, and has admitted he didn’t think it would be as difficult to adjust to life at the club after leaving his boyhood club Aston Villa.
After the match he spoke openly about his struggles and the differences to his time at Aston Villa, in an interview with Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Karen Carney.
When asked what life is like at the club, he told Sky Sports: “I’ve said it before, but it’s so much different to what I was used to at Aston Villa. Playing for Dean Smith, he’d say to me ‘go and find where you think the weak link is in the defence. If you want to go in the right, in the middle, if you want to hug the touch-line’.
“Just certain stuff… at Villa, I’d always have an overlapping full-back. Stuff like that.
“Coming to City, I’d been at Villa my whole life and I’ve never had to change. I didn’t realise how hard it is to adapt to another team and another manager. When I came here, it was so much more difficult than I thought.
“In my head I was thinking, ‘Going to the team that’s sitting top of the league, I’m going to get so many goals this season’. And obviously it isn’t the case.
“It’s so much more difficult. A lot of teams do tend to sit in against us, which obviously wasn’t the case at Villa.’’
When asked about his role against Chelsea coming on as a substitute, he added: “You sit there on the bench, observing the game and seeing what Phil’s (Foden) doing in the position that I’d be in, if I do come on.
‘’But I always want to start — every player does. I’ve been here 18 months and I’m enjoying it honestly. It’s a great group of lads and it’s a pleasure to work under Pep.’’ Grealish and Mahrez were both brought on at the hour mark against Chelsea and combined to devastating effect.
The England international’s cross from the left wing was inch-perfect for Mahrez who slid in at the far post to score the only goal of the game and give them the three points.
When asked about his relationship with Mahrez, Grealish responded: “I’m so close with Riyad and we were warming up together and we were saying, ‘I’d love to come on here’, because the game was open.
“We’ve had games against Brentford and Everton this season where they’ve had a back-five and they’ve sat in against us. “Today, it just seemed so much more open and we were saying that we were desperate to come on.
“The manager told Riyad to go and warm up — he didn’t actually tell me to warm up. “I thought, I’m going to warm up here even if I ain’t coming on. Next thing I know, Riyad was like ‘Jack! Come on, we’re going on’. I was like ‘Buzzing, see ya later’. — Mailonline.
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