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“Worst games of the season” – Pep Guardiola makes honest Manchester City admission following Aston Villa win



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed the impact of the recent international break on his squad.

The 53-year-old saw his Manchester City side bounce back from successive draws against Liverpool and Arsenal with an emphatic 4-1 win over Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, courtesy of Phil Foden’s third Premier League hat-trick.

Three goals from the England midfielder and an 11th minute strike from Rodri helped the Sky Blues to a crucial three points, as the hectic schedule forced both Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne to drop to the bench.

Manchester City, who have already played 47 matches this season, travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon, the Blues’ third Premier League game in just six days following a return from the March international break.

Kyle Walker and John Stones both suffered injuries during international duty with England, meanwhile Matheus Nunes, Erling Haaland and Manuel Akanji faced fitness issues.

City travel to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg next week, with the Blues still bidding to retain last season’s historic treble, but on the back foot in the race for the Premier League title.

Guardiola’s squad have suffered a number of injury issues this season, with De Bruyne missing almost six months of the campaign due to undergoing hamstring surgery, and Haaland sidelined for almost two months due to a foot injury.

The City boss has been vocal about the recent scheduling of matches involving the Blues, and the Catalonian has now blamed the recent international fixtures for Sunday’s poor performance against Arsenal.

“The guys who played two games for national teams in friendly games are out and Phil [Foden] maybe played one of his worst games of the season against Arsenal as he was exhausted from 96 minutes. Look at Kyle [Walker], John [Stones], Nathan [Ake],” said Guardiola.

Foden scored an incredible hat-trick against Villa on Wednesday evening but struggled against the Gunners, as a goalless draw handed Liverpool control in the race for the Premier League title.