Guardiola gives Foden full backing despite Champions League red card


The Spaniard was effusive in describing the performance of his teenage star, who has seen his match-time limited this season

Pep Guardiola has insisted that nobody trusts Phil Foden more than he does after the Manchester City youngster capped an impressive Champions League display with a red card against Atalanta.

The 19-year-old made just his second start of the season in the Citizens’ Group C clash with the Serie A outfit at the Etihad Stadium, impressing in midfield as his side ran out 5-1 victors courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Foden was instrumental in setting up the former’s opener for his hat-trick, but saw his terrific performance brought to a premature end after he picked up two bookings in the space of six minutes during the closing stages.

Speaking in his post-match press conference however, Guardiola was effusive in his praise for Foden, stating that the teenager has his manager’s full backing and belief.

“He doesn’t need to prove anything to me,” the Spaniard stated. “He would not be here with us.

“I was the guy who said to him in the academy come here to play with us. There has been nobody who trusts Phil more than me. I’m the boss, I decide [who plays].

“We thought it was a game he would have more opportunities to run, on the counter-attack. 

“Phil has these qualities to be box-to-box, at speed. That was the reason why he played, a tactical decision.

“He’s a young guy, still a lot to improve. But it has been important. Last season in one of the biggest games we had he played against Tottenham, he played so good and today as well.

“Every minute he plays, more experience for him for his future. He played at a high level.”

Guardiola did, however, add Foden still has plenty to learn, acknowledging his frustration at the midfielder’s red card.

“He will learn,” Guardiola said. “Never fine for the soccer professional [to get sent off], unless it has been for a stupid thing not something that has been part of the game.

“He will know after one yellow card you have to be a bit more careful. There are things still where his has been far away from David [Silva], far away from [Ilkay] Gundogan and far away from Kevin [De Bruyne].

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“He has to live this situation with a yellow card and be careful.”

There will be no punishment from Guardiola for Foden’s indiscipline, though.

“Absolutely, I will not fine him. Maybe I have to pay him for how well he played,” Guardiola said.


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