City manager Pep Guardiola warns Phil Foden, Jack Grealish over misconduct
Phil Foden and Jack Grealish were left out of City's squad against Newcastle, due to misconduct.
Guardiola took the call after the two had been spotted in a Manchester bar.
Foden and Grealish were there, celebrating the 7-0 victory over Leeds, where both scored.
Pep Guardiola runs a tight ship at Manchester City, which is evident from the fact that midfielders Phil Foden and Jack Grealish were left out of the game against Newcastle United, on December 19. The manager clarified it was not a routine squad rotation. The two had been excluded due to their misconduct, and warned about their errant behaviour as well.
After City's thumping 7-0 victory over Leeds, Foden and Grealish enjoyed a night out, and were pictured at a Manchester bar. The club's staff was distinctly unhappy with the condition in which they showed up the next morning, for their recovery session.
Despite both Foden and Grealish scoring against Leeds, Guardiola made it evident that he was unimpressed with their behaviour off the pitch. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the former Barcelona manager said, "I decided this team because they deserved to play, these guys, not the others. At Christmas, I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch. When off the pitch is not proper, they are not going to play. So we have to be focussed all the time because of distractions at Christmas time and everything that happens - you have to still be focussed".
Notably, Guardiola was attending former City striker Sergio Aguero's farewell press event in Barcelona, but was apprised of the situation back home, regarding Foden and Grealish's night out.
While some might think that Guardiola is being a killjoy, the astute manager is just looking out for his team. With COVID infections on a worrisome rise in the UK, several Premier League clubs have taken a hit, losing key players as they've fallen ill. Clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool are without instrumental squad members Romelu Lukaku and Virgil Van Dijk, at present.
Since the recent Premier League meeting reached the conclusion that matches are on, as scheduled, for gameweek 20, club coaches have to be extra vigilant to ensure their players do not contract the virus. Thus, monitoring one's behaviour off the pitch becomes necessary, and both Foden and Grealish have clearly received the message that they must play by Pep Guardiola's rule at Manchester City.