Manchester City midfielder Rodri has told ESPN FC he has learned “tactical fouling” while working under manager Pep Guardiola.
The midfielder, 23, became City’s record signing when he joined from Atletico Madrid in the summer for a €70 million fee.
– ESPN Premier League fantasy: Sign up now!
– VAR in the Premier League: Ultimate guide
– When does the transfer window reopen?
– Premier League winter break: All you need to know
– Rodri exclusive: Playing for Guardiola, City’s title hopes
Rodri acknowledged he plays in an important position on the pitch, but is relishing the responsibility.
“I think it’s a big challenge for me because I never used to play this position particularly,” Rodri told ESPN FC. “I didn’t have this exact role in the team.
“We have lots of offensive players and many other teams try to counterattack you and a lot of the time you’re alone but it’s good for me.
“I am learning new things, how to go, when to stay, when I have to do a tactical foul, when I have to jump. It’s good for me to learn these things. And for the team it’s good because we need those offensive players to be able to play our game.”
City are second in the Premier League — eight points behind leaders Liverpool — and Rodri said his side will have to overcome the “best team in England and in Europe” if they want to win a third consecutive title.
Jurgen Klopp’s side finished just a point behind City last season and then went on to win the Champions League. And they have started this campaign in superb form with eight wins from eight in the league.
Asked whether Manchester United or Liverpool were now City’s main rivals, Rodri said: “I don’t know, I had never been in the city before, I don’t know how people in the city feel.
“But the team to beat is Liverpool now and that has been seen the last two seasons. They are the champions of Europe so everyone wants to beat them, not just us.
“They’re a great team, they have improved a lot of things, they’re a very good team, and they’re the best team in England and in Europe.”