Brentford 0-1 Man City

Phil Foden had ‘nothing to prove’, insists Pep Guardiola as the Man City starlet delivers a stellar performance at Brentford having been dropped to the bench at Newcastle after his ill-timed night out with Jack Grealish

Pep Guardiola insists Phil Foden had ‘nothing to prove’ after his stand-out display in Manchester City’s win over Brentford on Wednesday night.

Manchester City beat Brentford 1-0 to move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table. It was Foden who provided the winning goal in the 16th minute of the game.

Guardiola praised Foden for his ‘exceptional’ performance and credited the forward for marking his return to the starting XI – after being dropped for an ill-timed night out with Jack Grealish – with the decisive goal.

Foden and Grealish were left on the bench during Manchester City’s 4-0 win at Newcastle following an indiscretion during the week building up to the fixture.

It is believed Guardiola allowed his stars time to unwind following their seven-goal thrashing of Leeds United. However, Foden and Grealish reported back to duty in an unacceptable condition.

Several members of staff were said to unimpressed with the pair – who had been pictured on a night out together. As a result, Guardiola refused to play them against the Magpies.

When asked if Foden had to prove himself against Brentford, Guardiola said: ‘Absolutely not. He doesn’t have to prove anything to me.

‘He has to prove to himself he enjoys football like he enjoys it as a little boy. This is the most important thing.

‘Foden has always been outstanding since he came up with us to start to train and play. He can play in different positions and always plays at an exceptional level. He is a really incredible player and we don’t have any doubts about that.’

Foden – who scored the winning goal against Brentford in the 16th minute of the game – said he learnt a lot from the situation.

‘Yeah definitely,’ Foden said when Amazon asked if he had taken his manager’s message of focus on board.

‘Around the Christmas time you can’t really take your foot off the gas. You have to keep going and remain focused.

‘This team’s doing that at the moment and you can see that we’re getting maximum points and that’s really good to see.’

Manchester City went eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table after beating Brentford 1-0.

However, Thomas Frank’s side did give the Premier League big boys a run for their money on their own patch.

They have previously beaten Arsenal and drawn with Liverpool at the home ground. Before being just edged out by Chelsea.

‘It’s either them or Liverpool,’ Frank said when asked the best side Brentford have faced.

‘Anything can happen in the Premier League but if City don’t have too many injuries, I think they’ll win the title.’

He added of his side: ‘Absolutely fantastic performance. The first half was unbelievable. We gave one chance away against Manchester City.

‘We are the lowest budget and they have the highest. They have the best players and the best managers. We are missing six players.

‘It’s unbelievable. I actually can’t quite believe it but I am obviously disappointed we didn’t get anything out of it. It was a marginal onside, their goal.

‘On the day we lacked that bit of extra quality to make the difference though especially in the second half. We needed to get more out of our set-pieces.’

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