Pep Guardiola Says Phil Foden Has Nothing To Prove To Him After He Bounced Back From Exile To Score The Winner At Brentford

The 21-year-old Manchester City star was dropped by an angry Guardiola after he and Jack Grealish went on a night out after the 7-0 win over Leeds before Christmas.

After two games on the bench, Foden was recalled to the starting line-up in west London – and expertly finished Kevin De Bruyne’s cross to give the Blues a win that opens up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Guardiola has veered away from publicly calling out Foden and Grealish, simply making an oblique reference to the importance of “off-field behaviour” which he says was aimed at all of his squad rather than just those two.

But after Foden’s return to the side, the manager said he was delighted with the response he has seen.

“Phil has been outstanding since he came back with us to train and play,” said Guardiola. “He can play in different positions and always plays at an exceptional level. He’s an incredibly good player and we know it. We don’t have doubts about that.”

When pressed about the fact that Foden might need to prove himself again after his antics with Grealish, Guardiola laughed off the suggestion.

“Absolutely not. he doesn’t need to prove anything to me, he has to prove to himself, to enjoy football, and this is the most important thing,” he said.

Foden scored the only goal as City toughed out a win despite not being at their best, and Guardiola was content.

He said: “It was the best performance we could play – so intelligent. We conceded (chances) – because they are the best team in the Premier League (at setpieces) – one set piece and the chance they had in the first corner.

“We had a few unnecessary fouls when they were looking for that. The second half was much better. We played the game against this team in this stadium how it must be played – lots of patience, don’t let them run or concede throw-ins, set pieces, corners.

“And move left left, and right right right. The quality of the players make the difference. A good victory. Come back to Manchester tonight, arrive late because on 12.30 (on Saturday) we have another game. “

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