Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Joao Cancelo opens up on problems with Pep Guardiola at Man City

Joao Cancelo Man City February 2022

Joao Cancelo has said that the problems he encountered with Pep Guardiola in his early days at Manchester City were his fault.

Life was difficult at first for the £60m recruit from Juventus. Cancelo arrived in August 2019 from Turin and made just 13 starts in the Premier League. He was down Guardiola’s pecking order, but now the 27-year-old is one of the City’s bosses go to men.

In fact Cancelo has made 23 starts in 25 Premier League games and started five of the six Champions League games to date.

He was rested from the final group game against RB Leipzig with top spot in the group already assured.

And the problems in the past are behind him now after penning a two-year contract extension at the start of February.

Guardiola had previously taken the blame for the breakdown in the pair’s working relationship, but now Cancelo says it was his fault.

“There were complications with the coach, of the way the team were playing,” he said. “I had a different way of playing at Juventus, I wanted to enjoy football and enjoy playing.

“It was my responsibility more than the coach, it was my fault. I recovered with my desire to win in life and in football.

“I’m happy and credit to me because there was a lot of desire to become the player I am today.”

Cancelo also says Guardiola has added some knowhow to his game.

“Italy was very important for my career, Inter and Juve, two huge clubs,” he added. “Pep has been huge tactically. Technically I have always been good, tactically I improved a lot in Italy. It was a time of learning, I liked living in Turin and Milan.”

Cancelo has been outstanding for City this season, operating on either the right or left of defence.

His recent fine performances have come despite a distressing experience off the field in December when he was attacked during a burglary at his house.

Cancelo said: “That’s life, it happens in life. It was horrific, it terrorised my family. My family didn’t deserve to go through that. I had to continue.

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Cancelo: City deserve Champions League glory

“I have had a lot of obstacles in my life but I’ve become a stronger player mentally. That’s how I want to keep going.”

Cancelo also believes City deserve to win the Champions League.

The Premier League leaders, who reached the final of the European competition last season, resume their latest challenge as they take on Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Cancelo said at a press conference: “We are a very strong team. The players know how to deal with the pressure of getting to the final but we are going up against the best teams in Europe.

“It is very difficult but we embrace this pressure. This club deserves to win the Champions League. That is what we play for and that is what we are trying to do this season.”

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