‘Trying too much’ – Nathan Ake gives brutal verdict on ‘difficult’ first season at Man City
Nathan Ake has spoken about how tough he found his debut season at Manchester City.
The Netherlands defender has put in solid performances when called upon by Pep Guardiola this term. His displays against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final won him many plaudits, helping to keep two clean sheets.
The 27-year-old has been used sparingly by Guardiola since his 2020 move from Bournemouth. An injury-ravaged first season saw him play just 13 times.
But he has almost doubled that figure this campaign and has put in solid shifts in important games over the last few months. Speaking to the club’s official website, Ake spoke honestly about his first 12 months at City and how he has quickly matured in that time.
He said: “I think this season has been much better than last season. Last season was difficult for me personally in terms of injuries but also trying to do too much, show myself too much.
“Most of the time, that backfires – you start to make mistakes, play differently. This season, I’ve been much more relaxed and like myself. I know last season was not how I normally play.
“It was a new experience, new everything. The start was okay but I had to cope with a lot of injuries, which I’ve never really experienced.”
Ake explained how regular minutes on the pitch have helped him develop and get back to the levels that earned him a move to City. “When you get more game-time, you start to get into a rhythm, more like yourself, and hopefully I’ll continue that,” he added.
“Even last season, every game, you have to perform well because every position has top-class players. With the game time you get, you have to try and perform, do well for your team and make sure you get the win. I’m enjoying it at the moment but I can obviously improve and do better.”