Pep Guardiola will soon find out if his gamble on the £300k-per-week Manchester City player paid off.
Like the wind, Pep Guardiola rarely pulls punches, and that may work in both directions.
One mistake might cost a person everything in the delicate game of man management.
Alternately, say something like, “I would have preferred to watch Antiques Roadshow,” and you can fire a manager of Forest Green Rovers as soon as possible, like Troy Deeney did recently.
Guardiola can critique his players more than some others since he has three Champions Leagues and numerous league victories under his belt.
However, even a trailblazing and accomplished manager like the Manchester City manager is prone to error.
The manager’s public criticism of Kalvin Phillips for returning to City training overweight was described by the player as a “huge blow to my self-esteem.”
Guardiola’s remark hurt too much to be a motivator, and the defensive midfielder’s fate was decided. He never seemed to be making an impression at the Etihad Stadium.
The Blues manager praised Phillips profusely on both sides of the controversy, citing his importance to the team, but nobody really recalls it, so it came across as trite compliments.
Managers need to find that balance, and Guardiola took a chance by criticising a different player directly. Specifically, Jack Grealish.
Pep Guardiola’s remarks regarding Jack Grealish
Before Saturday’s matchup with Everton, Guardiola gave an explanation for why Grealish hasn’t been starting much lately. “This season was not like last season, but he’s improving,” he remarked.
“We are optimistic as he has been improving this season. He is fighting against players at a high level after taking the necessary steps to reach his peak.
This is the sole explanation for it. To return to his previous level, particularly from the previous season and throughout Villa, he must demand it of himself. I’m excited to give him some time.
Jack Grealish needs to respond significantly.
Following the possibly harsh but entirely justified criticism, Grealish has two options: either accept it and let it break his confidence, or show his manager wrong.
The £300k-per-week player was essential to City’s triple crown, but he has since been left off the roster and won’t be starting in the Premier League in 2024.
Due to Phil Foden’s outstanding form and the thrilling arrival of Jeremy Doku, Grealish has faced intense competition and few opportunities.
However, Guardiola is “looking forward” to playing him, and that opportunity should present itself against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Although they are by no means underdogs, City is unquestionably the clear favourite versus the Danes, and the starting lineup may alter.
In addition, Guardiola prefers to maintain the ball in Europe, which Grealish assists with.
In the event that Grealish returns to the starting lineup for the first time since the FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town, he must seize the opportunity.
His starts could become even more few and sporadic if he doesn’t perform well and return to his previous level from last season.
In any case, Guardiola will soon find out if his gamble paid off.