Pep Guardiola admits Kalvin Phillips 'struggles' for Man City

Pep Guardiola admits Kalvin Phillips still ‘struggles’ to play in Man City’s system – and claims Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds was ‘perfect’ for the midfielder

  • The Man City boss admitted Phillips has struggled to assimilate at the Etihad
  • Guardiola insisted that Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds system was ‘perfect’ for Phillips
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Pep Guardiola has admitted that Kalvin Phillips still ‘struggles’ in Manchester City’s system but insists the midfielder ‘always wants to learn’.

Phillips, 27, has made just 23 appearances for the Treble winners since completing a £45million move from Leeds United back in 2022. 

Much had been expected of the England international, after strong performances at Leeds, however he has played a bit-part role for Guardiola’s side. 

Phillips, however, may get another chance to prove his worth on Wednesday night when Manchester City travel to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup. 

With a number of injuries in the squad, Phillips will likely feature in the match and, ahead of the game, Guardiola opened up on the midfielder’s struggles.

Kalvin Phillips has struggled to live up to expectations since joining Manchester City

Pep Guardiola (R) admitted that the 27-year-old ‘struggles’ to fit into Man City’s tactical system

Reflecting on Phillips’ time with Leeds, Guardiola said: ‘Marcelo (Bielsa) gave Kalvin the best of Kalvin in his career,’ said Guardiola.

‘I’d love to have done with Kalvin what Marcelo has done to him. We have our own specific way to play and (he) sometimes struggles in a few things, while the previous (Leeds playing style) was perfect (for him)’.

During his eight years in the Leeds first team, Phillips established himself as one of England’s strongest holding midfielders – leading City to launch a lucrative bid for him.

However, after making just 21 appearances in all competitions last season, there were rumours that Phillips could be on his way out during the summer window. 

‘The club spoke with him because he did not have many minutes,’ said Guardiola. ‘He said ‘no, I want to stay’.

‘We brought Kalvin here for his quality. He is open minded, always wants to learn and wants to help. This is what we want to try to do.’

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The midfielder has started just two games in the Premier League since joining the club

City have been contending with persistent injury problems at the start of the campaign and are set to rest a number of stars at St James’ Park. 

Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias will not start the third-round game, with Phillips set to be given an opportunity to impress in Rodri’s absence.

‘The problem is the lack of rest – mentally especially,’ Guardiola added. ‘This is the problem. Two or three weeks off between seasons, it’s nothing.

‘The problem is a lack of rest, year on year. The Champions League will be longer in future and it is what it is. I complain a little bit here and then forget it’.


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