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Jack Grealish gave a very honest interview following Manchester City's Premier League title win, and opened up about one issue he's had settling into Pep Guardiola's team.
History is written by the winners, and if City hadn't completed the comeback against Aston Villa on Sunday then there would have been one huge question following Pep around, "why not bring on Grealish?"
At 2-0 the City boss turned to Ilkay Gundogan instead of a man he signed for £100 million, from Villa, less than a year ago, in order to turn things around as they looked on the verge of throwing the title away.
It worked, as Gundogan grabbed the all important goals, but it raised further questions about the England forward, with some suggesting the 26-year-old has been a flop, especially with just three league goals and three league assists in his first season.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, the former Villa captain explained where he wants to be better and revealed he thinks the change in tactics, to fit into Guardiola's system, has affected his thinking on the pitch, which in turn impacted his play.
"You know, even times where people have said to me 'I want Jack to attack more, like at Villa,'" he explained on the Etihad pitch as the celebrations went on around him.
"And I feel like sometimes, because Pep don’t want you to lose the ball, I’m so in my head, thinking 'I can’t lose this ball,' you know what I mean.
"Where I feel like, 'All right, I’ve got to come back out.'"
"In my head I'm thinking I can't lose this ball" 🤔— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 22, 2022
Jack Grealish says at times this season he has played it safe... pic.twitter.com/IAiTP9Io9f
Asked by Jamie Redknapp if he felt he'd played 'safe,' Grealish added, "Yeah, at times.
"For example in the second half last week, against West Ham, I felt like once I’d scored I was like 'Come on, give me the ball,' and I was running at people, trying to create things.
"I even spoke to people I’m close to after the game, my dad, I was like 'I felt like myself then, playing today,'
"Hopefully I can bring that next season. I’m sure I will."
Other forwards have struggled in their first season under Pep, before going on to make a huge impact, with Bernardo Silva and David Silva in similar positions in the past.
Even Sergio Aguero initially lost his position as a guaranteed starter under the City manager, when he took over from Manuel Pellegrini back in 2016, with the Argentinian having to adapt.
Despite not playing in the comeback win over his former side, the England forward was clearly over the moon with his first title win, and was given some brilliant advice by Roy Keane.
🗣 “I can’t put it into words honestly.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 22, 2022
Jack Grealish says he was crying his eyes out when the third goal went in against Aston Villa. 😭 pic.twitter.com/9tPnHNT5nb
Thinking ahead to the upcoming campaign starting in August, and potentially with one eye on the winter's World Cup, he also added he wants more goals and assists in the future.
"You’ve got too, I think in this day and age, that’s what people look at," he said when asked about thinking about his numbers.
"And for attacking players that’s what you want to do.
"It’s like for defenders, it’s all good you playing well but you want clean sheets.
"Hopefully next season I can get more of them [goals and assists] and I’m sure that’ll be the case with Pep and [Gareth] Southgate."
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