Guardiola: I'd love to get Phillips playing like he did for Bielsa

27 Sep 2023
Kalvin Phillips

Man City boss admits he has struggled to get the best out of midfielder he signed from Leeds

Related Articles
Kovacic to return against Newcastle, says Guardiola External Link
Which teams have had best starts to a Premier League season?
Guardiola: Rodri must control his emotions

Pep Guardiola admits he has struggled to get the best out of Kalvin Phillips in the way that Marcelo Bielsa was able to at Leeds United.

Phillips has made just 14 Premier League appearances for Manchester City since arriving from Leeds in the summer of 2022, and only two starts.

The 27-year-old could now be called upon to deputise for Rodri, who is banned for three matches after being sent off against Nottingham Forest last Saturday, with that suspension including a crucial fixture against Arsenal on 8 October.

But ahead of tonight’s EFL Cup third-round tie against Newcastle United, Guardiola has stated that summer signing Mateo Kovacic is back from injury, and has warned that it is unfair to compare Phillips with Rodri, whom he recently described as the best holding midfielder in the world.

'We have a specific way to play'

"Players are specific. We brought Kalvin here for his quality," Guardiola told the club website. "There are no twins in football, every player has their own personality and qualities.

"Marcelo gave Kalvin the best Kalvin in his career. I’d love to have done with Kalvin what Marcelo has done to him.

"It is what it is. We have a specific way to play and sometimes they struggle with a few things, but in the previous game he was perfect.

"His biggest quality is he’s always open-minded and wants to learn. This is what we will try to do.

"Of course, being outside, sitting and seeing the players and what we are looking for the training sessions and meetings and seeing, it helps a lot."

Phillips will aim to make the most of any opportunities he is given in Rodri's absence, having decided in the summer to fight for his place rather than leaving.

"The club spoke with him because he did not have many minutes," Guardiola told the BBC. "He said, 'No, I want to stay'."

Latest Videos

More Videos