Rodri says “tactical fouls” are among the aspects of football he is learning since signing for Manchester City.
The midfielder, who joined from Atletico Madrid in July, has appeared in all eight Premier League games for Pep Guardiola’s side this term so far.
Guardiola last year issued a strong rebuttal to suggestions from ex-Manchester United captain Gary Neville that City deliberately commit fouls to break up play.
“We try to play, of course sometimes we make fouls. Never my teams are focused on making something wrong for the opponents,” said Guardiola.
“We try to attack, to play our game but never to do that to avoid what they do. It’s never happened in my career and never will happen in my career because I understand the game in a different approach.”
After City beat West Ham 5-0 in August, the club’s former manager Manuel Pellegrini highlighted the number of fouls committed by Guardiola’s team.
And Rodri confirmed he has been working on ‘tactical fouls’, as well as other aspects to playing a new position, since swapping Madrid for Manchester.
“I think it’s a big challenge for me because I never used to play this position particularly,” Rodri said to ESPN FC. “I didn’t have this exact role in the team.
“We have lots of offensive players and many other teams try to counter-attack you and a lot of the time you’re alone but it’s good for me.
“I am learning new things, how to go, when to stay, when I have to do a tactical foul, when I have to jump.
“It’s good for me to learn these things. And for the team it’s good because we need those offensive players to be able to play our game.”
We announced him, now get to know him! Introducing Rodri!
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 6, 2019
Defeats to Norwich City and Wolves have left City eight points behind Liverpool, who have a 100 per cent Premier League record, in the table.
With neighbours Manchester United struggling, Rodri was asked if Jurgen Klopp’s Reds should now be considered City’s main rivals.
“I don’t know, I had never been in the city before, I don’t know how people in the city feel,” he said, City having pipped Liverpool to the title by a point last season.
“But the team to beat is Liverpool now and that has been seen the last two seasons. They are the champions of Europe so everyone wants to beat them, not just us.
“They’re a great team, they have improved a lot of things, they’re a very good team, and they’re the best team in England and in Europe.”