Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City flop Jack Grealish he is still a top player – despite what the statistics say.
Grealish has struggled to make an impact at the Etihad this season following his British-record £100million move from Aston Villa.
The attacking midfielder has looked like someone who is finding the price tag a burden as he tries to adapt to life with Guardiola's champions.
Grealish has scored just one goal since September, three in total and has found it hard to nail down a regular place in the Spaniard's starting XI.
But Guardiola wants Grealish to ignore what the critics are saying along with the numbers surrounding his performances, because he remains an integral part of his mission to win big trophies this season.
It remains to be seen if Grealish starts for City at Peterborough on Tuesday night in the FA Cup fifth round, but Guardiola has told him to block out all the noise.
He said: "My advice is that he's wrong. Maybe he listens too much to what people say.
"It's wrong, because his statistics are better or similar to what he had at Aston Villa, in terms of ball contact or being closer to the ball.
"He had the chances. At Crystal Palace, in 20 minutes, he could have scored three goals. It didn't happen, but it's going to happen. We didn't sign him to sign 45 goals. He does not have that quality. He has another one.
"Listen, we always hide behind the statistics. The players today, they play for the statistics, but this is the biggest mistake they can do.
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"The statistics are just the pattern of information that we have. But there are players who make the game or the team play good, and they are not in the statistics.
"But the players go, 'how many goals did I score, or the assists', and they forget everything. This is the problem today in the real world in football.
"Statistics never existed before. It's how you play today, if you perform at your maximum, your best and you help your team-mates to make the process defensively or offensively better, it's enough – and it's thanks to that that you are going to win a game.
"But everyone has agents and managers and everything, everyone wants to see better and listen to a lot of things about what they have to do. But he's playing good. If he wasn't I would tell him, but that's not the case."
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