It’s not Kevin De Bruyne and not Raheem Sterling.
At the end of the year Pep Guardiola picked out another player of the Manchester City.
“Everybody has spoken about a lot of players like Raheem, Kevin, Sergio [Aguero], they deserve it, but if I can point some attention to a player who deserves the respect is Nico. We have a superman in the team. Nicolás Otamendi helped us absolutely… without Nico it would not be possible to do what we have done,” Guardiola said at Friday’s press conference.
According to Pep, the Argentines have a standout character: a lot of times Otamendi went out on the field with pain in the ankle, in the knee, in the back. “He’s one the hugest competitors I’ve ever seen in my life. He was so important. I cannot imagine the situation we are in at the moment in terms of the table and how we play without him.”
After words of Guardiola, goal.com drew attention to the statistics of Nicolás Otamendi. Amazing details were found out.
Firstly, Otamendi makes more assists. Not only in EPL, but in all top 5 European Leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France).
Secondly, Nico most frequently (70%) passes forward.
Thirdly, Otamendi is doing it most successfully. Pass accuracy – 92%, which is the best result among the 20 most active passers of the Premier League
Pep Guardiola: “Nico Otamendi – our superman”
This season a central defender of Manchester City has made 1734 passes.
This is the highest result among all players of England, Spain, Italy Germany and France.
70% – forward passes
92% – pass accuracy
“Being a central defender in our team is not easy, “Guardiola says. “You play 40 metres in front [of your own goal], defending a lot of space behind, you have to help us with the build-ups, they can’t just be worried about defending. Right now he’s reading the situations, where the spaces are to pass the ball, amazingly.”
Otamendi describes his role as follows: “If a team is sitting deep, the centre-backs have to come out with the ball and we have to have the patience to give the pass at the exact right moment. We work on this during the week, we practise everything so that everything goes well on the day of the game,” Otamendi says. “The first year is always a little harder, with the adaptation to a new playing style and a new idea. This year we pretty much all know the concepts that Pep wants and we try to improve every day, in every training session. ”
Pep Guardiola also adds: “I’m really impressed, because it’s not just happened now, it’s from 18 months working together, and a lot of meetings, a lot of talking about what is a good decision, what is the right way. What I admire the most is that he did not have these skills. For example John Stones can do it, as it’s easy for him. But what I admire the most are the ones for whom maybe it’s not their strong point, but they try and they do it. He does that, and that is…wow… that is chapeau”.