EletiofePep Guardiola: 'I have trained incredible players and Foden...

Pep Guardiola: ‘I have trained incredible players and Foden will be one of them’

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  • Manager speaks after Man City’s 4-0 win over Liverpool
  • Jürgen Klopp laments misses but ‘saw brilliant attitude’

Phil Foden, who scored one and set up another goal for Raheem Sterling, is congratulated by his manager Pep Guardiola.






Phil Foden, who scored one and set up another goal for Raheem Sterling, is congratulated by his manager Pep Guardiola.
Photograph: Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola paid tribute to the attitude of his Manchester City players as Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden inspired them to a 4-0 victory against the newly crowned champions Liverpool.

A scintillating first-half performance from the 2018 and 2019 Premier League winners, after they had performed a guard of honour to Jürgen Klopp’s side before kick-off, saw them take the lead through a penalty from De Bruyne before Raheem Sterling and Foden made it 3-0 at the break.

An own goal from the substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rounded off the victory at the Etihad Stadium that leaves City still 20 points behind Liverpool but Guardiola admitted his team had wanted to prove a point against the team that succeeded them as champions.

“I saw how incredibly focused they were to try and beat us during the guard of honour and that is why they are champions. They didn’t even say thank you because they were focused on the game,” Guardiola said.

“They drank a lot of beers this week but they arrived here with no beers in their blood which is why I give us a lot of credit. Maybe it will help us for the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal and the Champions League game against Madrid.”

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The defeat means Liverpool now have little margin for error if they are to overhaul City’s Premier League record points tally of 100 from the 2017-18 season. Starting with the struggling Aston Villa on Sunday at Anfield, the new champions need to pick up 15 points from their remaining six matches to set a new mark. Klopp reacted tetchily during his television interview with Sky after the match but insisted he was happy with his side’s performance despite suffering only a third defeat in their last 70 matches.

“I saw a brilliant attitude – I saw boys who were fighting with everything. We didn’t behave like somebody who became champions a week ago,” he said.

“We lacked fluidity and in some situations they were quicker than us in mind. They used their chances and we didn’t. City were 100% deserved winners of course but it could have been 5-3 or something like that. But it’s 4-0 and we have to take that. If you want to lead this story in direction we were not focused, then do it. I liked my team’s attitude. Isn’t it nice another team can be champions when Man City can play so well?”

Guardiola reserved special praise for the Belgium midfelder De Bruyne, who he suggested “knows he can get even better”, with the 20-year-old academy graduate Foden also tipped to be an international star for England.

“I don’t want to say anything wrong but I think that Gareth Southgate has an incredible talent in his hands for the national team,” he said. “I’ve seen many players in my life – I have trained incredible, incredible players and Phil will be one of them.”

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