The youngster starred for the visitors despite their heavy loss, leading the City manager to lavish praise on the 24-year-old
Pep Guardiola believes it would be too expensive for Manchester City to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa after the midfielder starred in his side’s 3-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan eased the Premier League champions to victory against Villa, moving them to within three points of leaders Liverpool who have a game in hand.
City triumphed comfortably despite losing Fernandinho to a red card in the 87th minute, with Villa offering little resistance as they sought to kick-start their season following promotion from the Championship.
But youngster Grealish starred for the visitors despite their heavy loss, leading the City manager to lavish praise on the 24-year-old for his influence over the game.
“He [Grealish] has been an incredible, incredible soccer professional – top soccer professional,” said Guardiola. “I am happy for the fact he has been an Aston Villa soccer professional and he got offers to move on but decided to stay there in the Championship.
“I like that they were promoted to the Premier League and he defended his club. He has been a talented soccer professional – fast in the final third, passes, always creates something.
“He’s an exceptional soccer professional but too expensive for Manchester City!”
Sterling, fresh from a Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta in midweek , led the way again for City.
Guardiola has been delighted to see the England international ignoring the hype which continues to build around him, with the 24-year-old forward proving to be a model of consistency and professionalism.
The win against Atalanta left City with three wins from three in Champions League and with one foot in the last 16, but it’s in the Premier League that they have their work most cut out for them to retain the crown they’ve won for the past two seasons
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Guardiola hasn’t held back in criticising his side this campaign and once again took aim at their first-half performance on Saturday.
“We played a good 45 minutes, not the other ones. Respect and credit to Aston Villa,” Guardiola said. “The first half we play football but not in the way we should play.
“The second half we were better, an early goal in the second half helped us and we played in the way we normally are but we have to try to play 90 minutes and not just 45.”