Pep Guardiola sends rallying message to Manchester City forward Phil Foden

Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City, has sent a rallying cry to Phil Foden after the Englishman returned to the starting lineup for Saturday’s disappointing draw against Nottingham Forest.

City, who had moved to the top of the Premier League table with a win over Arsenal in midweek, lost crucial ground in the title race on Saturday afternoon at the City Ground.

Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead through Bernardo Silva’s sublime strike, but after a series of missed chances, conceded in the 84th minute to fall to another frustrating 1-1 draw.

Despite registering 23 attempts, the Blues failed to covert a host of second-half chances, as Aymeric Laporte, Phil Foden, and Erling Haaland all missed glorious opportunities against a resolute Forest side.

The result leaves the Blues two points behind the Gunners having played one game more than the North London club, and also means Manchester United sits just three points off of City in third place.

Phil Foden was handed his first start since the Manchester Derby on Saturday afternoon, replacing Riyad Mahrez for just his 19th start of the campaign.

The England international made a bright return to the side, however, skewed a brilliant chance to double City’s lead early into the second half.

Reflecting on the 22-year-old return to the team post-match, Guardiola said: “Yes. He played really well. In the first half he was aggressive against (Renan) Lodi, arrived many times at the by-line.”

“Still he doesn’t have this ‘pausa composure’ that he had, because it’s normal as maybe he didn’t play much now.

“He’s going to take it back, he was so aggressive, he played really, really good. Really, really good.”

Foden, who has struggled with injury and illness in recent weeks, has started just five games for City since the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Asked whether the boyhood Blue had become frustrated by his lack of minutes, Guardiola replied: “I didn’t ask him. I don’t know. He has to compete with Riyad (Mahrez) who’s playing really well and the other players.

“It’s a competition for them. What I have to say is not to be frustrated, it’s to perform as best as possible. As best as possible. After that, it will be easy.”

Manchester City is back in action on Wednesday, resuming their UEFA Champions League campaign against RB Leipzig in Germany.

The Champions will then look to bounce back in the Premier League with a trip to Bournemouth on Saturday evening.


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