The England internationals had impressed in City’s 7-0 thrashing of Leeds United at the Ethad last week, but they were left as unused substitutes for the routine 4-0 win at St James’ Park at the weekend.
After the game, Guardiola revealed that his team was picked on ‘behaviour’, as opposed to standard squad rotation – which increased speculation that Grealish and Foden were dropped for off-field issues, rather than to rest the pair.
According to the Telegraph, Grealish and Foden are understood to have gone out together after the Leeds game on Tuesday night, but City were left unhappy with the condition in which they reported the next day for a recovery session.
Guardiola – who had been in Barcelona on Wednesday to attend Sergio Aguero’s retirement announcement – was thought to be ‘distinctly unimpressed’ when he heard about the situation.
The Spaniard made it clear that he will not tolerate this sort of behaviour from his players with a not-so-subtle dig after the victory against the Magpies.
Jack Grealish and Phil Foden had gone out together after the 7-0 win vs Leeds on Tuesday night, but #ManCity were unhappy with the condition in which they reported the next day for a recovery session.
Speaking after the fixture, the City boss explained why he had chosen the XI that he did, later reiterating his point about rotation not playing a part in his selection and the need for players to behave adequately.
“I didn’t rotate today,” he said. “If the players believe I rotated for that game they are mistaken. I decide the best team today for the way they play. We needed a different pace for the players and that’s why they play.
“I don’t know if we are going to play Leicester [on Boxing Day], unfortunately they have a lot of [Covid] cases, hopefully they are getting better. It depends what we see in the training sessions and it depends what we see on and off the pitch – how the players behave in this period – and I will take a decision.”
Grealish and Foden were both on the scoresheet against Leeds, with the former grabbing just his third goal for City since his £100 million move from Aston Villa in the summer.