For his “aggressive” performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest, Phil Foden received praise from Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola.
In City’s previous four league games, Foden had been relegated to the bench and had only seen action as a substitute once, but he started against Forest.
Guardiola was impressed by the 22-year-old English midfielder, who hadn’t played since January 14 when City lost to United in the Manchester derby.
“He played really good,” Guardiola said. “First half he was so aggressive against [Renan] Lodi and he arrived many times to the byline.
“Still he didn’t have the poise or composure that he had because it’s normal, because he didn’t play much.
“Everything today was so aggressive and he played really good.”
The Spaniard gave the assurance that Foden and other players who have recently been rotated would receive their chances.
“He has to compete with everyone else,” Guardiola said. “He trained really well with the other players. The competition is for them.
“What I have to say is don’t be frustrated, perform as best as possible. And after that it will be easy.”
Despite City having 23 shots compared to Forest’s 4, six of which were on goal, the game still ended in a draw.
In reference to his team’s midweek 3-1 victory over Arsenal, who later reclaimed first place with their 4-2 victory over Aston Villa, Guardiola thought his team did not receive what they “deserved” but bemoaned their inability to take use of the opportunities they created.
“When I see expected goals after the game and the way we played and the chances we concede or create, always we are there, we are on top,” he said.
“Arsenal played really good but they shot one shot or two chances in general. We try to play to create more chances, not concede goals and be as stable as a team. In general we have been there most of the games.
“I don’t think we got what we deserved but football is not about getting what you deserve. At the end, you have to score the goals.”