Cancelo makes positive early impression on Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is confident Joao Cancelo is ready to play a part as the Portugal full-back awaits his Manchester City debut.

The 25-year-old was City’s final signing of the transfer window in a deal which saw Danilo head in the other direction to Juventus, but he is yet to get off the bench in City’s first two Premier League games of the campaign.

Guardiola offered no hints of whether he would stick with Kyle Walker or turn to Cancelo for Sunday’s trip to Bournemouth, but the City boss is certain Cancelo can make an impact when his chance comes.

“He can play, he’s ready,” Guardiola said. “I think his understanding in training is good and we talk a lot with him. In every training session and every meeting he sees what we want.

Pep Guardiola has been impressed by what he has seen from Joao Cancelo
Pep Guardiola has been impressed by what he has seen from Joao Cancelo (Martin Rickett/PA).

“At the moment there is one game a week and people can have time to recover, but he can play on Sunday.

“Then comes the international break and then the Champions League and the Carabao Cup and everybody will be involved.

“But the first feeling we have is really good. He pays attention, he’s an incredible professional with a lot of quality on the ball.”

Like Danilo, Cancelo offers cover on both sides of the defence, but Guardiola said he would not immediately be needed with Oleksandr Zinchenko fit after suffering from cramp and Benjamin Mendy now returning to training.

“He can (play there) but we have Oleks, Mendy and Angelino. Usually (Cancelo) is on the right, but he can play on the left. For Juve he played on the left many times. He can play winger too.

“He can play several positions, but normally he will play right-back because Kyle can’t play every week.”

City head to Bournemouth looking to build on a superb record against Eddie Howe’s side. City are unbeaten in 14 meetings with the Cherries and have won their eight Premier League meetings by a combined scored of 25-3.

Gabriel Jesus had a late effort against Tottenham ruled out
Gabriel Jesus had a late effort against Tottenham ruled out (Martin Rickett/PA).

Though there is a lingering frustration from last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham, Guardiola said it was directed not at the VAR decision to rule out Gabriel Jesus’ late goal but with his side’s failure to convert 30 shots at goal into a dominant victory.

With the Community Shield already in the trophy cabinet and his side positively purring when going forward, Guardiola said there was nothing much keeping him up at night early in the season.

“I’m concerned about Bournemouth but I have no complaints,” the Catalan said. “I’d like to have six points, but for the many things we did I’m more than satisfied. I’d like to have no injuries, that’s my main concern now.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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