Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hit out at critics of Jack Grealish.
Grealish has been the subject of sustained criticism since becoming the most expensive British player in history when arriving from Aston Villa for £100million last season.
That heightened in midweek when the England international was substituted with City losing against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League before a dramatic late turnaround.
“I know him and I’m more than happy with what he’s doing,” Guardiola said. “Now it’s just a question of time to get back a little bit of his momentum that he had at the beginning of the season.
“We were lucky the injury was not worse. In the last game, he was the only one up front who made aggressive runs one against one. But to make assists, he didn’t have his team-mates in the box so we left him isolated.
“When he went against the full back, only Erling (Haaland) was there. (Ilkay) Gundogan was not there, Kevin (De Bruyne) was not there and they should have been. In the first half, we didn’t make any movements to help the players who had the ball and give him possibilities to make it easier.”
At Villa, he was the main attacking protagonist and talisman, making 32 goal contributions in his last 62 Premier League matches over two campaigns.
“We didn’t sign him for the incredible goals or assists,” Guardiola added. “It was another reason and when he plays he does it. I want (him) to make goals and I want assists and he does, too.
“But it’s not about that, it’s about his contribution without the ball and what he can produce for the other ones and the many, many things that he’s able to do.
“He’s such a nice guy and in the games when he didn’t play, he is the first to help the team and in the training sessions he’s always there.”