Pep Guardiola claims Jack Grealish played his best game yet for Man City at the weekend.
Despite City failing to win for the first time in 12 Premier League games against Southampton, Guardiola branded Grealish’s contribution in the 1-1 draw as ‘exceptional’.
The former Aston Villa captain joined the champions for a record breaking transfer in the summer and Grealish has previously admitted that his £100million move has been difficult to deal with.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph Grealish said: “I’ve found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would, adapting to a different manager and teammates.
“At first I thought I’d have more of the ball, get more assists and goals but it doesn’t work like that at all. I’ve had nowhere near as much of the ball as I used to get at Villa.”
In the 1-1 stalemate at St. Mary’s on Saturday, Grealish cut a frustrated figure at times and was involved in a first-half incident with Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu after being on the receiving end of a painful challenge from Jan Bednarek.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl later revealed that Grealish waited in the tunnel for Romeu following the conclusion of the second half after being antagonised following Bednarek’s foul.
However, City boss Guardiola was delighted with the 26-year-old’s contribution on the pitch.
“It was the best game he has played since he has been with us, by far,” said the Spaniard.
“It was an exceptional performance, he played really, really well.
“He played like this (with frustration) but it’s for the referee, for the opponent, it’s his behaviour.
“But I’m talking when we don’t have the ball, what he has done, and when he has the ball and what he has to do. They defended so narrow, it is not easy.
“I think he’s the perfect player to play in between the lines, he’s so aggressive, he makes incredible runs, he dropped the Southampton team to the byline.
“His decision-making is excellent, he had two almost clear chances to dribble and shoot but it was blocked. I am so satisfied with the performance Jack has done.”