Jack Grealish thanked Pep Guardiola for backing him after scoring inside the first minute of Manchester City’s comfortable 3-0 win at 10-man Wolves.
City’s £100million record signing netted after just 53 seconds in Saturday’s early Premier League game at Molineux.
It was a perfect riposte from Grealish, who was criticised after an indifferent display against Borussia Dortmund in midweek having endured a frustrating start to his second season at City.
Grealish told BT Sport: “Rightly so people have been asking questions, I should be scoring more and getting more assists.
“I am always going to have people talking about me with the money that was spent on me, but all my career I haven’t scored enough goals. I do want to add that to my game.
“It is nice when Pep defends me. He has been brilliant with me. I probably have to thank him because he gave me the opportunity today after my performance on Wednesday because it probably wasn’t the best.”
City manager Guardiola publicly defended Grealish ahead of the game and reiterated his faith in the midfielder’s ability.
The boss said: “They don’t have to say thank you. I said to them many times they are here because I trust them unconditionally, all of them. Jack is not an exception.
“He scored a goal and it was a good performance. Of course I am happy for him, for the victory.”
Grealish’s opener was followed by yet another goal from the prolific Erling Haaland 15 minutes later, his 14th in just his 10th appearance for City.
Wolves’ frustration then was compounded by the dismissal of Nathan Collins for a poor challenge on Grealish but, despite a spirited second-half showing from the hosts, Phil Foden wrapped up victory after 69 minutes.
Guardiola was pleased to see the goal-scoring load being shared with Haaland.
He said: “Always when we arrive up there, players have permission to open the door and go into the box. Nobody is not allowed to do it there.
“Erling continues to score goals, that’s top. Julian (Alvarez) had a chance, that’s top. But the other ones need to have the desire, the hunger and the mentality to score goals as well.”
Scoring is proving a problem for Wolves, who have netted just three times in seven games.
Forwards Sasa Kalajdzic and Raul Jimenez are both out injured while new signing Diego Costa was not deemed match-fit.
Manager Bruno Lage said: “When you don’t score goals it is a worry and that is why we have these three strikers. Unfortunately nobody is available to play.
“Even Manchester City and a manager like Pep Guardiola understand you need a reference in the box to score goals, especially in the Premier League.”
Lage was nevertheless pleased with his side’s second-half showing.
He said: “I don’t believe there are too many teams in the world that can do what we did against this top team with 10 men.
“The players were brave and confident. They made some mistakes but there were periods we were very good.”
Lage had no complaints about the red card.
He said: “I don’t believe Collins wanted to do that but when you see that you have to admit it can be yellow or red.”