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João Cancelo’s bench at Bayern Munich: cryptic Instagram post



João Cancelo's bench at Bayern Munich: cryptic Instagram post

After a strong start, João Cancelo has hardly played at FC Bayern Munich recently, even sitting on the bench for 90 minutes in the 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart. The 28-year-old Portuguese himself responded with a cryptic Instagram post, coach Julian Nagelsmann provided explanations.

“I do my best and let God do the rest,” Cancelo wrote on Instagram on Sunday. He also provided a photo with the hood pulled up. His best efforts and God’s help were only enough for extremely sporadic assignments – it all started so well.

Quite surprisingly, Bayern Munich loaned Cancelo from Manchester City on Deadline Day for the rest of the season, with a €70m purchase option in the summer. He had previously lost his regular place under coach Pep Guardiola and allegedly fell out with the coach as a result, which he later denied.

The day after signing, Cancelo made his debut in the DFB Cup game against FSV Mainz. He put in a convincing performance and contributed an assist to the 4-0 win. Cancelo was also in the starting XI for the three following competitive games before being substituted at half-time in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 three weeks ago at Paris Saint-Germain (1-0).

Nagelsmann on Cancelo: “Catching up on some things”

Since then, Cancelo has been a substitute: against Borussia Mönchengladbach and Union Berlin, coach Julian Nagelsmann brought him in during the game; against Stuttgart he was on the bench for 90 minutes – which Nagelsmann said was a gesture of concession to Benjamin Pavard.

The nominal regular player Pavard was missing in Stuttgart in the starting XI because he is suspended in the second leg against Paris and the planned team should warm up. But because it was against his former club Stuttgart, Nagelsmann Pavard wanted to give Pavard a few more minutes as a last change option. “It was nothing against Cancelo, more for Benji,” explained Nagelsmann.

Cancelo dealt with this decision “well”. “I don’t have the impression that he’s breaking away,” speculated Nagelsmann. “Of course, João still has some catching up to do in terms of processes. It’s a different style of play than Pep had at City. He needs a little more time and he’ll get it. Then he’ll be able to play very well again.”

FC Bayern: Why João Cancelo currently has no starting place

Cancelo’s arrival had encouraged Nagelsmann at the beginning of February to increasingly form his defense in a chain of three instead of four, especially when in possession of the ball. The offensively strong Cancelo, who can be used on both sides, is predestined for the role as a track player. Or “Joker”, as Nagelsmann calls this position.

After the new system was established with Cancelo as a fixture, Nagelsmann tested Kingsley Coman in the newly created Joker role. The trained winger impressed right away, at the same time the left winger Alphonso Davies found his form and Cancelo eased up. Suddenly there was no more room for the newcomer.

A row further back as the right link in a back three, Cancelo is out of the question for Nagelsmann. “João has almost never played a back three with the ball at City, so he has never played as a half-back. He’s an attacking player who comes into his own as a right-back,” explained Nagelsmann at the press conference in Stuttgart.

Therefore, as against Union and Stuttgart, the defensively stronger Josip Stanisic should complete the back three in the second leg against PSG on Wednesday. Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano are seeded, while Benjamin Pavard is suspended.