London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has backed Jack Grealish to end his goal drought as Manchester City’s record signing struggles to justify his £100 million ($132 million) fee.
Grealish has scored just two goals for City since his British record transfer from Aston Villa.
The 26-year-old last netted in September in City’s Champions League win over Leipzig, with his only Premier League goal for the champions coming in August against Norwich.
Grealish has been unable to emulate his eye-catching Villa displays in a City shirt and he missed a golden opportunity to get back on the scoresheet in Saturday’s win over Wolves.
But City manager Guardiola has no doubt the England midfielder can cope with the 13-game barren run and will eventually start firing again.
“He has to do exactly what he is doing, no more than that. The rest will come,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday.
“He has chances to score two or three goals every game and it one day he is going to do it. He could have had a hat-trick against Watford and in the last game one or two goals again.
“The way he is playing is good but when you play a fantastic team like Wolves, who are incredibly well organised defensively, it is a good compliment for them that the fact to break their structure is so complicated. It was difficult for all the players, not just Jack.
“Never in my career did I find one season when every player stays, from the beginning to the end, in top form. There are highs and lows.
“But he doesn’t have to score. What he has to do is play like he knows what to do, feel that his contribution is helping to win games and the rest will come.”
Premier League leaders City host Leeds on Tuesday and Guardiola admitted his side will have to suffer if they are to survive Marcelo Bielsa’s high-tempo tactics.
Leeds took four points off City last season and Guardiola expects another difficult night.
“Leeds are one of our toughest opponents. They play in a special unique way and we play against this special unique way just two times a year,” he said.
“We have to adjust a few things because it is different to other opponents. We are not much used to these type of games.
“There is no single game that they don’t create more chances than the opponents. This is the type of game where we know we will have to suffer. We have to try to adapt and impose what we want to do.”