Manuel Akanji wants to make life as difficult as possible for Pep Guardiola with his performances for Manchester City.
Centre-back Akanji has impressed in his three appearances since joining from Borussia Dortmund on deadline day earlier this month, and has managed to keep Ruben Dias, John Stones and Nathan Ake out of the team at times. His debut at Sevilla earned him praise from Guardiola, who compared his style to new teammate Aymeric Laporte and hailed the club for completing the signing.
Akanji, though, knows he will not always be in the starting line-up, especially when Laporte returns from injury. He played down the public praise from his manager.
“What he tells me personally is much more important to me. That gives me extra self-confidence,” the Switzerland international told 20Minuten on international duty.
“He really sees everything on the pitch, but also looks at how the players behave off it.”
Reflecting on how his move came about and of his expectations of life at City, Akanji insisted he will buy into the squad mentality at the Etihad, while still making it as difficult as possible for Guardiola to drop him.
He explained: “I was in Dortmund four days before the end of the transfer window and watched Bundesliga and Premier League games on TV. Then came the contact with Manchester City. From there everything went pretty fast. I don’t pinch [myself], but of course it’s a huge step considering where I’m from. I am very proud of it and thankful for the support of my family and friends.
“We have a lot of good players. I know that it won’t be easy. I also don’t expect to play through every game for 90 minutes, but I want to make it as difficult as possible for the coach.
“At the beginning I talked a lot with Erling Haaland because we already know each other well. But I try to get to know all the players better. I’ve had long conversations with Nathan Ake, Jack Grealish and Ruben Dias.”