Adapting to life as the holding midfielder in an ultra-attacking Manchester City side is no easy task, according to the club’s record signing Rodri.
A £62.8 million (€70m) close-season recruit from Atletico Madrid, Rodri has stepped in for Fernandinho over the opening weeks of the season, the Brazil international having returned late to club duty following his Copa America commitments.
Rodri turned in assured performances at the base of the midfield in the Community Shield triumph over Liverpool and 5-0 opening-day win against West Ham in the Premier League.
Ilkay Gundogan provided support in central areas as playmakers Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva set about Tottenham in Saturday’s 2-2 draw, where City were forced to settle for a share of the spoils despite having 30 attempts at goal.
“I feel better every day,” Rodri told his club’s official website.
“It’s good for me to play minutes [because] it is not easy to get into a team with the dynamic City have – overwhelming, always wanting to attack.
“I’m trying to settle well, I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’m happy because Pep Guardiola is showing me a lot of confidence.
“I want to help the team with my style, but at this current point I need to identify what the team demands.”
Gabriel Jesus had what he thought was an injury-time winner ruled out at the weekend when a VAR review penalised Aymeric Laporte for handball in the build-up to the goal.
Rodri was involved in an earlier controversy when the video official decided not to advise referee Michael Oliver to award a penalty after Spurs winger Erik Lamela appeared to pull the Spain international to the ground.
“It is a little bit difficult to get used to it,” the 23-year-old said of VAR. “Sometimes you don’t know why some actions are checked and others aren’t, but I think that the officials try to do their job the best they can.
“We can only analyse what we control, we can’t control the things that are not in our hands.”