Kevin De Bruyne has insisted that Manchester City teammate Jack Grealish is an easy target for criticism because of the spotlight on English players.
Grealish has been heavily criticised for his form at the start of the season, particularly following a poor performance against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League, but did silence some critics with his goal in the win over Wolves on Saturday.
When asked about the scrutiny of Grealish’s performances and whether or not being an English player in the Premier League is a factor in it, De Bruyne replied: “Yes. It is not about football. Outside of football, the focus is more on them [England players]. I understand because they are English and people tend to look more [at] what is happening.
“I feel like foreign players, for instance if you have a night out, we don’t really get checked that often. Whereas I feel if an English player goes out, it is always in the media somewhere. I think people are taking this on board also. What he does in his private life he does, nobody should care, but people do.”
De Bruyne also discussed how it has taken time for Grealish to adapt to new adapt to the higher expectations at Man City following his £100m move to the club from Aston Villa in 2021.
“With all due respect he was at Villa before and if you lose a game sometimes it is not the end of the world,” he added. “But if we lose a game it is different.
“We have to perform every week and win games. That is different and what he has had to adjust to. As long as we win the games and he is doing a good job for us, that is all that matters.”
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
Erik ten Hag explains decision to substitute Jadon Sancho in Omonia victory
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confessed that he was unimpressed with the left side of his team in the first half of Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Omonia Nicosia, leading to him substituting both Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia at half-time.
United were woeful in the first half and trailed at the break after Sancho and Malacia conspired to give away the ball for the cheapest of counter-attack goals, and both were hooked at the interval.
Sancho was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who went on to bag a goal and an assist, while fellow substitute Anthony Martial also scored just moments after being introduced on the hour mark.
Asked to explain his logic behind removing Sancho while his team were losing, Ten Hag said: “It [the goal] was not what I wasn’t happy with, it was the movement with our ball.
“The width on the left side, for me, was no good first-half – the movement from behind the defending line.
“So I hoped with Luke [Shaw] and Marcus we get more effect from that and so in my opinion that happens.”
Asked what he told Rashford and the rest of the team at the break to inspire a comeback, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “More runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs.
“The subs really had an impact today.”
The boss added: “I would call it stay composed. It can always happen, football is a game of mistakes. I agree with you, first 30 or 35 minutes, we played quite well, the only thing we didn’t do was score a goal.
“When you score a goal you make your life easy, we didn’t. Then we concede a goal and it was the worst 10 minutes from the game from us. After half-time, we dealt well with the setback.”
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