João Cancelo FC Bayern

Nagelsmann on Cancelo: 'He carried out what we wanted'


A pinpoint cross to introduce yourself! João Cancelo didn't need much time on his Bayern debut to prove what a big signing he is for the German record champions. Julian Nagelsmann threw the Portuguese full-back straight into his starting line-up for the DFB Cup round of 16 clash at 1. FSV Mainz 05, just one day after completing his move to Munich. He repaid his coach after just 17 minutes with a perfectly timed delivery for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, whose goal to make it 1-0 paved the way for progression to the quarter-finals.

Job done

"He crosses very well to the far post," Nagelsmann had already said ahead of the game, when asked to list the January signing's qualities. The head coach therefore gave the 28-year-old plenty of attacking freedom on his debut. Nagelsmann switched to a 3-5-2 formation for the first time this year, in order to "have an extra man in the middle", as he explained after the final whistle. That played to Cancelo's strengths.

Praise from coach and teammates

"His first two or three actions were unbelievably creative. He just has very good composure on the ball, which we need particularly against deep-lying opponents," lauded Nagelsmann. "He defended well too and worked extremely hard. He made a lot of forward runs, which we've been lacking a bit lately," continued the Bayern boss, who gave a very positive overall verdict on Cancelo's first appearance: "He carried out what we wanted."

João Cancelo FC Bayern
João Cancelo laid on the all-important opening goal for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting with a pinpoint cross.

Naturally, that didn't go unnoticed by the rest of the team either. "For his first game with a new team, it was certainly a very good display," summarised Thomas Müller. "I think we also did very well at bringing his strengths into the game. You saw his vision, his crosses are very dangerous and he plays with joy." Joshua Kimmich agreed: "He has tremendous quality, which he showed already today."

Cancelo: 'Very happy to have contributed to this win'

The debutant himself remained modest in spite of his impressive showing. "It was a great performance from the whole team. My teammates tried to integrate me as quickly as possible," said Cancelo, adding: "I'm very happy to have contributed to this win." He didn't want to overstate his part in the opening goal, though. "It was a good cross, but the finish from Choupo-Moting was even better."

João Cancelo Leroy Sané FC Bayern
João Cancelo celebrates the third Bayern goal with Leroy Sané shortly before the break.

All in all, the Portuguese's debut could hardly have gone better. "The most important thing was the win, and we got that. We're in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup and I'm very happy," concluded Cancelo at the end of his first night in a Bayern shirt. It's left fans wanting more – or as Kimmich put it: "I hope and expect that we're going to have a lot of fun with him."

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The key facts on the win at Mainz: