Guardiola sends a clear signal to Grealish: 'That's the difference'

Pep Guardiola has sent a clear signal to Jack Grealish ahead of the FA Cup clash with Luton Town. If the 28-year-old Englishman wants to regain his starting spot at Manchester City, he will have to perform.

Guardiola sends a clear signal to Grealish: 'That's the difference' Embed from Getty Images

In the previous season, Jack Grealish was pivotal in Manchester City's ambitious pursuit of the treble, securing his role as Pep Guardiola's preferred choice for the left attacking flank.

However, the current season has seen Grealish grappling with both form and fitness issues. A promising spell in December saw him finding the back of the net in three successive Premier League fixtures, yet as 2024 unfolded, his participation dwindled to a mere sixteen minutes in league play.

In a pivotal Champions League encounter against FC Copenhagen, Guardiola reinstated Grealish in the starting lineup for the first time in an extended period, only for an injury to curtail his playtime prematurely.

Guardiola, during a press conference on Monday, addressed queries regarding Grealish's current predicament. Despite confirming the player's recovery from his recent injury, Guardiola emphasized that a return to the starting XI isn't guaranteed. He highlighted the competitive nature of the sport at its zenith, stating, "I can't give every player three or four matches to regain their rhythm. At the highest level, players, the team, and the manager can't wait for you to regain fitness. There are also seventeen other players who deserve to play."

This stance places significant responsibility on Grealish, whose performance fluctuations starkly contrast with the consistency displayed last season. Guardiola queried, "Why is it now ups and downs, whereas last season it was all up? There's a reason for that. He's the same player, he has the same coach, and the way we play hasn't changed either. Only his performances, that's the difference."

Guardiola remains hopeful, underscoring the unique qualities Grealish brings to the team and his importance to Manchester City's aspirations. "I've said from day one that we need him, he has special qualities. It's up to him, hopefully he can finish the season well," Guardiola concluded, thereby laying down the gauntlet for Grealish to reclaim his form and contribute to the team's success in the latter part of the season.

Updated: 10:29, 27 Feb 2024

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