Jack Grealish: Adapting to life at Man City has been ‘difficult’

Premier League

Jack Grealish said it has been “far more difficult” than he anticipated to adjust to Manchester City’s style of play.

The playmaker from England, who cost £100 million, demonstrated the champions’ depth by coming off the bench to set up their game-winning goal against Chelsea.

At Stamford Bridge, City were not at their best, but Grealish provided the crucial moment of sharpness with a slide-rule pass across the face of the six-yard box to set up fellow substitute Riyad Mahrez for a tap-in.

The ex-Aston Villa player had more goal involvements (16 – six goals, 10 assists) in his final season in the Midlands than he has had in over 18 months with City despite having his third Premier League assist of the season (10 – four goals, six assists).

After City’s 1-0 victory, which pulled them to within five points of league-leading Arsenal, Grealish, 27, spoke to Sky Sports:

“When I came here, I’ll be honest with you, it was so much more difficult than I thought,” Grealish, 27, told Sky Sports after City’s 1-0 win moved them to within five points of leaders Arsenal.

“In my head I thought I was going to the team sitting top of the league and I was going to get so many goals and assists and obviously it isn’t the case. A lot of teams tend to sit in against us and that wasn’t the case at Villa.”

Grealish added:

“[Ex-Aston Villa manager] Dean Smith would tell me to go and find the weak link in the defence, whether that was on the right, the middle or whether I wanted to hug the touchline – and at Villa, I always had an overlapping full-back.

“I came into City, having been at Villa my whole life, and I’ve never had to change. I’ve always been used to that. I didn’t realise how hard it is to adapt to a different team and manager.”

Only three minutes and 43 seconds had passed for Grealish and Mahrez individually on the field when they combined for the vital goal that reduced league leaders Arsenal’s lead.

He continued:

“We’ve had games this season – Everton and Brentford recently for example – where they’ve had a back five and they’ve sat in against us.”

“Against a back four today it just felt so much more open and we were saying we were desperate to come on.”

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