Portugal international João Cancelo was heavily praised by Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola after starring in a 4-0 win at Watford in the Premier League on Tuesday evening.

Cancelo payed at left-back as goals from Raheem Sterling (2), Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte gave City a comprehensive victory, and the Portuguese was widely regarded as one of the best players in a convincing team performance.

Speaking after the match, Guardiola was happy to devote his time to discussing Cancelo’s progress following his big-money move from Juventus last summer, since when he has struggled at times to earn playing time despite some credible performances for the Citizens this season.

“The most incredible thing for João is he is now a completely different man to when he arrived,” Guardiola said. “We needed time to understand each other. What I want is what he has been doing after the restart.

“When we came back he was the best player in training. He was incredible, but unfortunately had a problem in his leg and stopped for a while.

"All I want from João is for him to be happy in training, because we know his quality.

“He understands us better than the beginning. Sometimes you need time. We are delighted with his last two months.”

Bernardo Silva also started the match for City, playing the full ninety minutes and recording a typically high 95% pass completion rate. Cancelo was the City starter with the highest pass completion, racking up an impressive 97% which no doubt contributed to his manager’s appraisal.

By Sean Gillen

@SeanGillen9

Comments (8)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Pep should be praising the Man City billion dollar legal team that managed to bribe City back into the Champions League.

Truly, I have enjoyed football less and less each year since corruption and favouritism have infiltrated the sport.

Aside...

Pep should be praising the Man City billion dollar legal team that managed to bribe City back into the Champions League.

Truly, I have enjoyed football less and less each year since corruption and favouritism have infiltrated the sport.

Aside from Portugal winning the Euros, I can't recall too many UEFA or FIFA or even Champions League competitions that excite me.

I recall the great footy on display in the 2000's, when Lyon, Porto, Ajax, Benfica, Zenit, Valencia, Celtic, Monaco, AC Milan among others, were regulars in the CL knockout rounds and the footy was exciting (if you've never seen a Juninho free kick you should search it in YouTube).

Football these days has been watered down by oil money and corruption and Pep should probably keep his mouth shut.

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City are bent as f**k. Excuse my language.

However there is still plenty of joy to be had in football you just have to avoid certain teams/leagues/competitions to do this nowadays. The obsession with winning (the league) as if what happens to...

City are bent as f**k. Excuse my language.

However there is still plenty of joy to be had in football you just have to avoid certain teams/leagues/competitions to do this nowadays. The obsession with winning (the league) as if what happens to the rest of the teams doesn't matter is what is the real cancer. As an example PSG win their league every year - so what? I still enjoy watching Marseille, Lyon, Lille, St Etienne and Monaco. Same with La Liga - ignored Barcelona and Madrid and there is plenty to enjoy.

For me its the Prem league that's the worst - everyone knows its funded by corruption and corrupt money but the fact their fans seem oblivious and point the finger at everyone else is what makes me sick.

I'll stick to the "lesser" leagues thanks.

Back to Joao - he did well at Inter then really lost his way and having a good game against Watford isn't much to talk about. I hope he finds his form again as he really should be one of the best RB's in the World by now

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While I agree to an extent with your philosophy, I was commenting on the decline and unpredictability of the Champions League specifically. It's the same 6-8 teams with oil money or UEFA favouritism that end up playing each other. Boooooooring.

...

While I agree to an extent with your philosophy, I was commenting on the decline and unpredictability of the Champions League specifically. It's the same 6-8 teams with oil money or UEFA favouritism that end up playing each other. Boooooooring.

As for Joao Cancelo, there is one major issue impeding his evolution into a world-class right-back; he doesn't know what the word "defend" means.

Seriously, I haven't seen a wing-back so bad at defending since Marcelo at Real Madrid and Brasil. Cancelo is great in attack, but he's a huge liability in defence.

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I often times hear the argument against the top teams in whatever sport ruining the particular sport but in all reality it doesn’t. In almost every major team sport, there’s always favorites and typical teams that do better than others and the...

I often times hear the argument against the top teams in whatever sport ruining the particular sport but in all reality it doesn’t. In almost every major team sport, there’s always favorites and typical teams that do better than others and the ratings and viewership still goes up. For example here in the United States college basketball is very popular particularly the March madness tournament. People everywhere root for the underdog or Cinderella teams to go to the finals but the truth is, once the bigger teams lose(Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kanas etc.) the tournament actually loses tv ratings. Every sports league in the United States has favorites at the professional level and that’s with a salary cap too. The nba and the nfl historically has 6-8 teams that usually win. My point is that yes having the same top teams in the champions league winning or going to quarter finals might seem less interesting but across the majority of fans, people would rather see Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich in a final instead of Valencia vs Rb Leipzig and that’s the bottom line. Also, Cancelo couldn’t cross the ball yesterday within 25 yards of anybody, I watched the game. If passing a ball five yards to someone is impressive to Pep than I’m ready at 35 to try out for Man City.

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The college analogy doesn't really compare because there is a recruiting process at play. As far as American sports leagues, they are actually competitive because of the salary cap.

This is what FFP was supposed to do for football in Europe but...

The college analogy doesn't really compare because there is a recruiting process at play. As far as American sports leagues, they are actually competitive because of the salary cap.

This is what FFP was supposed to do for football in Europe but it's clear FFP applies to clubs like Porto but not Man City. There is clearly a huge bias and influx of corruption in European footy that you simply do not see in the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, etc.

While the CL is still big business, viewership has dropped by as much as 35% in the last few years, except for the final of Liverpool vs Tottenham, which broke viewing records. This indicates to me that people are indeed getting tired of stale competition with the same teams all the time, and that conversly, new teams in the final generate excitement.

Let's also be honest and say that a majority of viewership come from people wanting to watch Messi or Ronaldo more so than any one particular team, which means that when these 2 retire, or go to non-European teams, a big power and viewing vacuum will open up and will not be covered by Real Madrid, Man City or Barcelona.

Making the CL more competitive can only lead to better viewership and competition, as it is exactly this formula that led to the Champions League blowing up in the '90's and '00's.

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I agree with Chris. CL viewership is down. Teams such as PSG and Man City do not have real fans. Rules must apply across. The CL is boring.

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@chris
Well said. I was just pointing out that sometimes what people think they want isn’t always what they want. My analogy of college basketball was more about the actual tournament and so much of the recruiting process. Typically it’s fun to...

@chris
Well said. I was just pointing out that sometimes what people think they want isn’t always what they want. My analogy of college basketball was more about the actual tournament and so much of the recruiting process. Typically it’s fun to cheer for a Mid Major college but once the big schools go out, a lot of the fans go out with them. What you said about Ronaldo and Messi is definitely true. Quick example, Duke basketball has historically been a powerhouse and people love or hate them. Zion Williamson two years ago came in as a freshman and literally every sports show in the USA talked about everything he did almost every day. He left duke and last year, duke was hardly talked about even though the Duke program is very polarizing. The point is a lot of times the stars draw the attention and a lot of these big money spending teams have the stars. I definitely agree with you and see what you’re saying though but yo play devils advocate, I’m not going to lie here...It’s pretty damn fun watching these all star teams from one country in Europe play against another all star team in a way. They’ve mentioned in the past of having a super league in Europe where these huge teams play each other and maybe that’s where we’re heading. The Europa league might just be the new champions league and perhaps that’s what you should be watching.

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I do watch the Europa League and honestly, it has better attacking football, more flair and games are more fun to watch. That all-star league is a golden calf; it won't attract more fans, it will only attract the fans of the so-called "elite"...

I do watch the Europa League and honestly, it has better attacking football, more flair and games are more fun to watch. That all-star league is a golden calf; it won't attract more fans, it will only attract the fans of the so-called "elite" clubs, which means that it will push the Man City's and PSG's of the world more incentive to splash the cash.

Honeslty, the only people a European super league would help are scumbags like Jorge Mendes. If we look at the game historically, it saw it's biggest expansion in the late 1980's to 2011. Let's look at some of the teams in that 20+ year period that made the finals: AC Milan, Benfica, Red Star Belgrade, Bayern, Borussia, Valencia, Marseille, Porto, Liverpool, Monaco, Man Utd, Barcelona, Ajax, Inter Milan, Sampdoria, Steua Bucharest, and so on.

The growth happened because different teams and cities across Europe got representation across the years, growing interest and grassroots support. This is what works, not narrowing the competition to 5 teams. I hear your points, and I don't disagree with some of what you say, but the reality is that the freakshow aspect of "Super clubs" do not lead to long-term success as you are essentially pooling all your resources into a small number of clubs. And guess what, the more teams you are exposed to, the more stars or up and comers we are exposed to. Have you seen Dortmund lately? Guerreiro, Sancho, Hangaland. Exciting team to watch.

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