By Andy Hampson, PA
Leipzig’s former Manchester City left-back Angelino has denied saying Pep Guardiola “killed” him as a player.
The Spaniard, who has had two spells at the Etihad Stadium, joined the German club, initially on loan, in January 2020 after failing to earn a regular place in Guardiola’s side.
In an interview earlier this year he said the situation under Guardiola “killed” him but, ahead of Wednesday’s clash against his old club, has made clear he was purely referring to his confidence levels.
It was not, he added, a suggestion Guardiola damaged his game or stunted his development. Indeed, he believes the opposite was the case.
“It is not that he killed me as a player,” said the 24-year-old, who will be in the Leipzig side for their Champions League Group A opener against City. “I have always said he made me the player I am today.
“In the time I was with him I couldn’t realise how much I was improving in training but since the first day I arrived here at RB I saw the improvements I made, thanks to him.
“I will always be thankful. It is just that I didn’t play. That is why I said he killed my confidence.
“I didn’t get much game time but I will always be thankful for the help he gave me last time I came here.”
Angelino came through the City youth system but, after a series of loans, joined PSV Eindhoven permanently in the summer of 2018.
City exercised a buy-back clause a year later after he shone for the Dutch side but he was allowed to leave again in the next transfer window. His move to the Bundesliga side, where he has established himself, was made permanent in February.
He admits it will be strange to be back at the Etihad.
“It is a weird feeling,” he said at the pre-match press conference. “I never thought I would play in a different shirt in this stadium but I am really happy to be back.
“We play against one of the best teams in the world and we know it will be a tough night. We can’t allow any silly mistakes if we want to get a result.”
Leipzig, Champions League semi-finalists in 2020, have had a frustrating start to the season under new coach Jesse Marsch – losing three of their opening four Bundesliga games.
“Against Manchester City it is another difficult task but we are very enthusiastic about this challenge,” said Marsch, who succeeded the now Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann.
“They have a lot of quality but we think we can be intensive with and without the ball and make it difficult for them.”