Pep Guardiola has opened up on the private chat which may have played a part in Phil Foden’s resurgent form for Manchester City this season.
After enduring a post-World Cup slump which saw him start just three out of 13 games for City, Foden has started each of City’s last three games, scoring four goals and providing one assist.
In midweek Foden spoke about his recent struggles after he inspired City to a 3-0 win at Bristol City in the FA Cup, describing the past couple of months as the toughest period of his career.
On Saturday the 22-year-old showed he has turned the page, as he scored a superb solo goal during a Player of the Match performance in City’s 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United.
Speaking after the win, Guardiola revealed what he said to Foden before his upturn in form.
“Phil has the special ability to have the ball, where is the goal, and go there to attack with the ball, without the ball,” Guardiola said after the match, via the Manchester Evening News.
“But when I spoke with Phil during the year when the moments he had the ball he passed back, you feel you don’t have the confidence to do it and it is normal.
“[I said] ‘What happens to you Phil it’s absolutely what should happen.’ He arrives 17 years old training with us, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes here, the national team, World Cup, European Cup, winning titles and every year he was a little bit better than the year before.
“Then arrives a moment you go down. Okay accept it, the struggle with his ankle, accept it. They are the most important things. Don’t blame the other ones, the opponent or the manager or the club or the mates. Accept I can do better and come back to the principles. Step by step they will be back and now scoring goals.
“What happened with Phil is completely normal. Accept it. I said: ‘The bad moments, this too shall pass.’ Always like this, in 90 minutes, the bad moments this too shall pass, always will come. Come back to the game and be ready in that moment to do it.”
When asked about Foden’s contribution on Saturday, Guardiola explained how the youngster impacted the game.
“After we get the goal, a brilliant action from Phil, a lucky with the deflection but was aggressive from Phil,” he said.
“We messed that a little this season. It doesn’t matter what happens, ‘I go against you’. When that happens, always a deflection comes for your side. The second half we start well, they have the momentum and break the game up and downs.”