Pep Guardiola insists Nathan Ake has given Man City the boost it ‘didn’t have in the past’… hailing the Dutchman as a ‘proper defender’ after his contribution this season to the club’s title triumph
- Man City lifted the Premier League title for the third consecutive season on Sunday
- Nathan Ake played a key role in City’s backline during the season
- Pep Guardiola says Ake gave City the boost they ‘didn’t have last time’
Pep Guardiola has singled out Nathan Ake for giving Man City the ‘boost’ they need after claiming the Premier League title.
The club lifted their third straight Premier League title on Sunday, following Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest the day before.
Ake has played a key part in their success this season, filling in at left back and in the center of defense throughout the campaign.
The 28-year-old has missed City’s last four games – including their 1-0 victory over Chelsea – due to a hamstring injury, but Guardiola identified his contribution as one of the biggest factors behind their treble push this season.
‘He has been key,’ said Guardiola after City’s victory over Chelsea at the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola has praised Nathan Ake for giving Man City an ‘unprecedented’ boost following the club’s successful title defense this season
Ake was impressed when Guardiola called him up every time he played at left back or in the middle of defense this season
‘I learned this season when you play against (Bukayo) Saka, Vinicius (Jnr), (Gabriel) Martinelli, (Mohamed) Salah or (Sadio) Mane in the past, you need the right defender to win duels one v one.
‘Or, in the Champions League, at that level, they need an action to beat you and Nathan gave us the help I didn’t have in the past.
‘The biggest help is having the right defender and last time we didn’t have that and Nathan, (Manuel) Akanji and [Kyle] Walker did it.’
Ake – who joined Man City from Bournemouth for £41m in 2020 – is enjoying his most productive season at the Etihad.
The Dutchman has made 38 appearances – just short of twice his total in his first two seasons at the club.
Ahead of the Chelsea clash, Guardiola described him as ‘much better’ following his hamstring injury.
Guardiola expects Ake to return to full fitness in time for their FA Cup final with Manchester United, and Champions League final against Inter Milan next month.
Guardiola admits he knows City need a ‘proper defender’ like Ake to deal with the likes of Bukayo Saka (right), Mohamed Salah and Vinicius Jnr this season