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Gvardiol proving his worth after early struggles, says Guardiola

Gvardiol proving his worth after early struggles, says Guardiola

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The 22-year-old left back joined the treble winners from German club RB Leipzig in August

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(Reuters) - Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol struggled to find his feet at the Premier League club but is now growing in confidence after his goal-scoring exploits in the title run-in, manager Pep Guardiola said.

The 22-year-old left back joined the treble winners from German club RB Leipzig in August, signing a five-year deal for a reported fee of 90 million euros ($97 million).

The Croatian international, who had not scored in his previous 32 appearances for City, has now netted five times in his last seven matches to help his side's push towards a record fourth successive title.

"There is an aspect in football and in life and that is confidence, confidence when you do things and it's game time, a lot of games and talking about the not proper things that you do and the good things," Guardiola told reporters after Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Fulham.

"And you cannot forget it is his first Premier League season... so it is not easy to handle it and he struggled in the beginning a little bit, because he came into a team who had just won the treble and he was a little bit shy.

"He signed for many, many years and he has proved to himself that he can do it and play with us."

Guardiola gave his players three days off after their 5-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers this month.

"On the first day, he (Gvardiol) went into the training centre to make a recovery, so his focus is football and he wants to be better and better and when this happens, you have something special on your hands," the Spaniard said.

City, second in the table with 85 points and one behind Arsenal who have played a game more, travel to fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.