Guardiola fires message to Man City star – told to be ‘more ambitious’ after floundering post-transfer

Guardiola on Man City win Credit: Alamy
Guardiola on Man City win Credit: Alamy

Pep Guardiola has told Jack Grealish that he needs to be “more ambitious” after he impressed for Man City in their 3-1 victory over Leeds United.

City went into Wednesday’s game against Leeds United needing to respond after Arsenal battled back from behind to beat West Ham 3-1.

They did just that as they were in great form at Elland Road, with Erling Haaland and Grealish both impressing.

The visitors spurned several chances before the break but they went ahead in stoppage time.

Riyad Mahrez’s initial shot was kept out by an inspired Illan Meslier but Rodri was there to tap the ball home on the rebound.

In the second-half, Grealish provided two assists as he played in Haaland for his 19th and 20th Premier League goals of the season from just 14 outings.

Pascal Struijk pulled a goal back for Leeds but this proved to just be a consolation as Man City ran out 3-1 winners. This victory reduces the gap between them and leaders Arsenal to just five points.

Speaking post-match, Guardiola encouraged Grealish to “score more goals and be competitive”.

“We played really well against this team in this stadium. We made a great performance in the second half when they were a bit more open,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.

“After the World Cup, nobody knows how we were going to react and the way Leeds were playing lately. Today with the ball we were brilliant.

“The relationship between Rico Lewis and Rodri was brilliant in the middle of the pitch.

On Grealish: “Grealish made two assists, he allowed us to give an extra pass when he had it. With Riyad [Mahrez] and Jack the tempo was better. But he has to be more ambitious, he has to score more goals and be competitive because he has the quality to do it.

On Haaland: “He scored a lot of goals but he could have scored more. He help us a lot.”

This was an important game for Haaland as his father Alf-Inge previously played for Leeds United during his own career.

The forward has warned Arsenal that City know that they have to “hunt them” down.

“I have a target but I cannot say it. I just said inside the dressing room that I could have scored five but the most important thing is that we won,” Haaland told Amazon Prime.

“We see Arsenal at the top now and we have to hunt them. For me, as a striker, I have to score more. I could have scored a couple more but that’s life and I have to train more.

“I’ve been at home, a bit mad that I’ve not been at the World Cup. I recharged my batteries.

“Watching other people score to win games at the World Cup triggered, motivated and irritated me. I’m more hungry and more ready than ever.

On playing against Leeds at Elland Road: “My father and mother were on the tribune today. It’s special. I’m happy – it’s a special moment in my career.

“When I was young, I had an Eirik Bakke shirt in my room and a jersey of my father. In my craziest fantasy, I couldn’t think of being at Elland Road and scoring for Manchester City against Leeds.”

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