Man City’s Grealish reveals struggles with confidence, fitness

Jack Grealish has admitted he “wasn’t playing with confidence” during his spell out of the Manchester City team earlier this season.

The England midfielder was a key part of last year’s side that won the treble, but said he found the start of the new campaign “difficult” because of niggling injuries and a dip in his usual iron-clad self-belief.

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“It’s been difficult,” Grealish said when asked about his season so far.

“Especially on the back of last year, I had such a good season. I was playing a lot and was one of the main players in the team and playing it all the games and all the important games.

“This year, yeah, at the start of the season I had a dead leg which kept me out for a month and then I didn’t play too often. I don’t think my form was the best and I wasn’t playing with a lot of confidence. In the new year, I had a few injuries again as well with my groin.”

Asked what contributed to a drop in confidence, Grealish admitted he wasn’t training well and “didn’t feel fit.”

“I just think sometimes if you’re not playing and probably not up to it in training, in your own head you just don’t feel confident,” he said.

“At the start of the season, I don’t know, I just didn’t feel like I was playing well really. I didn’t really feel that fit if I’m honest.

“Coming in the team, playing a game, then being out of the team, in and out, it was a little bit difficult but I feel good now.”

After recovering from a groin problem, Grealish has started four of City’s last five games, including both legs of the Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid.

Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea, the 28-year-old has said he is now back to his best — particularly after an impressive performance in the penalty shoot-out defeat to Real Madrid at the Etihad on Wednesday.

“I feel fit and I feel like I’m playing with good confidence,” he said.

“Hopefully I can bring that into the end of the season. We’ve still got a lot to play for, a lot of games. There’s a Premier League and an FA Cup to play for so the season is nowhere near over yet. I still feel like I’ve got a big part to play.”

With the game against Chelsea coming just three days after the Champions League exit to Madrid, Guardiola is set to rotate his squad at Wembley.

It could mean another chance for 20-year-old Oscar Bobb and the Norway forward told ESPN that City are determined to reach a second successive FA Cup final.

“Everyone was disappointed, especially after a game where we felt we had chances and were the better team,” Bobb said.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go our way but it gives us a lot of motivation to bounce back and get to a final.”

Bobb also pointed to the Champions League exit to Real Madrid in 2022 and subsequent Premier League success when Ilkay Gündogan scored two late goals against Aston Villa on the final day as proof that Guardiola’s team can put disappointments behind them quickly.

“I was thinking earlier about the Champions League exit to Real Madrid two years ago when they scored those two late goals,” Bobb said.

“Even though that happened, it was the same season when Gundo scored those late goals and that was what that season was remembered for. “They went through that and still went on to win the Premier League so if any group can do it again, it’s this one.”