PEP’S GEE-UP FOR JACK ON HIS VILLA RETURN
PEP GUARDIOLA has urged Jack Grealish to be more selfish in front of goal as he gears up for tonight’s emotional return to Aston Villa. Manchester City’s £100million record signing admitted yesterday that he has found adapting to his new club difficult, but Guardiola disagreed. The manager did suggest, though that he wants Grealish to take more responsibility. ‘My opinion is that he’s played much better than maybe he believes,’ said Guardiola. ‘Maybe at Villa, everything started with him and he was free. Now he’s in a new position and he has not been so determined or so clinical in the final third. Sometimes maybe he has to be a more aggressive guy. When you get the ball close to the box, my friend, you decide whatever you want. That’s why you are Jack Grealish and not another player. They have to play and make their moments.’ Grealish (right) is expected to be among City’s substitutes tonight after recovering from injury. The 26-year-old has two goals and three assists this term and Guardiola conceded that new signings find their first season tough. ‘All the players who come here, for the first season they always struggle,’ he said. ‘But has he played bad?
Absolutely not. I didn’t see one game yet where he did not play with the quality he has.’ Guardiola denied that any potential jeering of Grealish by Villa supporters would impact his selection tonight. ‘The booing shows how much the fans love him,’ he said. Villa manager Steven Gerrard added: ‘I don’t see anything other than a positive reaction to Jack, but once the game starts he’s the enemy and we want to compete against him. I think the supporters are very grateful for what Jack gave to this club.’