Connect with us


Phil Foden praise, burn-out concerns, title race preview – Embargoed section: Pep Guardiola’s post-Bournemouth press conference part two



| Last Updated:


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was full of praise for both Phil Foden and John Stones following Saturday evening’s win over Bournemouth.

The treble-winners moved back to within one point of Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, courtesy of Phil Foden’s 16th goal of the campaign.

The Englishman was on the scoresheet for a third successive Manchester City away match, having netted in recent wins against both FC Copenhagen and Brentford.

Foden scored the only goal of the game in the 24th minute, pouncing on a parried save by goalkeeper Neto to extend City’s current unbeaten streak across all competitions to 17 matches.

Manchester City travel south again on Tuesday evening for an Emirates FA Cup fifth round clash against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, ahead of a defining month of Premier League fixtures.

Guardiola’s side face Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in March, with United visiting the Etihad Stadium next weekend in the Manchester derby.

Ahead of another busy week of fixtures for Manchester City, Guardiola issued praise to both Foden and Stones while speaking to the media in part two of his post-match press conference at the Vitality Stadium.

The Catalonian also discussed his fears of player burn-out, with the Blues’ win over Bournemouth being their 40th fixture of the campaign.

Here is every word from the City boss following Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Bournemouth.

On Phil Foden taking a step forward:

“No, I think in the (FIFA Club) World Cup in Saudi Arabia, he played really good and he understands more the game and his work ethic and how he runs and everything. He’s becoming a top, top class player.”

On John Stones coming back:

“Yeah still he’s not at his top but of course Manu (Akanji) and him, they’re back but were injured. John (Stones) has had a lot of setbacks this season, and he’s not like Phil (Foden) for example where they need two training sessions to be fit and ready.

“It’s more difficult for them, but of course he’s back and he played again really, really good. We needed players today that don’t play with one-touch, we needed to make a lot of touches every player, we needed a lot, a lot of touches because against man-to-man when you play one-touch, it is what they want.

“And we needed Bernardo (Silva) and Phil and John and Rodri, who have the ability to keep the ball, Manu and Nathan (Ake), everyone has two or three touches and that is what we needed today and they did it really perfectly.

“I think the first-half was really, really good, we had the goal and more chances, not maybe clear because the last pass was not proper, was not good, but we were there in actions, in one-against-one, and two-against-two, three-against-three in front of the box.

“Unfortunately we could not convert to score, and after that they made a substitution, physical team, continue their man-to-man sustaining for 95 minutes, with less recovery it’s more difficult and we could not do it, but in general it was a really good performance knowing the quality and the tough place to come, it’s Bournemouth.”

On the importance of Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne:

“Everyone is so important, everyone, everyone is. Kevin (De Bruyne) is back for a few minutes and Jack (Grealish) as well and in the next games we’re going to use him. We need everyone.”

On the next area for Phil Foden to develop after goalscoring:

“He’s young and can improve. Always I have the feeling that Phil (Foden) always has the sense of goal, always has this sense of he can score. I met him when he was 16-years-old coming to training with us, a little bit like Cole Palmer; when they arrive there, always I have the feeling that they can score. And Phil has this incredible ability, he has this incredible ability to do it.”

On whether he is concerned about burn-out ahead of a big month:

“Of course we are tired, of course we are, but it is what it is. We are tired, but we will recover today, we will sleep good, we will eat good, and we will be ready to Luton, and we are going to do, and I want to go through.

“I know it’s difficult, really, but it is what it is. I see my players. We played Champions League and all the teams have a long week aside from the Champions League teams because the schedule is that.

“We played against Brentford! And Brentford is dentist! It’s going to the dentist! You know? Without anaesthetic! It’s there! And do you know why we play against Brentford? Because we played the (FIFA Club) World Cup in Saudi Arabia, two games. The schedule is… so we don’t have time.

“I see the schedule is three days and after Tuesday to Sunday is a lot and after we have Champions League and after we have another one and comes now the big month that’s United, and maybe I don’t know an FA Cup, against Brighton, and after in Liverpool, and Arsenal, and Aston Villa, so yeah, welcome!

“Still we are there, one (point) behind after being in the Champions for everything, so that is good. So I thought, hmm, I don’t know what’s going to happen with my players after winning everything, how will they react. Oh my god! Better than that is impossible! IMPOSSIBLE! IMPOSSIBLE!”

On whether this season is now tougher than last season:

“It’s the question every season, you ask me the same, ‘This season’s Premier League is tougher than the previous one?’ It is! Every year is tough, but I love it.

“Ok, we accept it, we accept the challenge, that’s for sure. We accept the challenge. Because I know Arsenal, Liverpool, what a teams they are. Try to recover to increase the quality of some players and performance, coming back from injuries, from a long time stopped, and step-by-step, as much we are there, we can arrive in the last games being there, and everything can happen.

“To be with these players, this genetic personality and mentality, because no matter what competition always they perform and give everything. Sometimes, when we don’t perform well, it’s because we forget that the opponents are really good too. Sometimes you cannot perform well and lose, but stability and emotionally of the team is there.”