London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has backed Phil Foden to do his talking on the pitch after a contentious tweet was posted by his social media company aimed at Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe.
Foden played a starring role in Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund, scoring the winning goal in both legs.
But the 20-year-old was reportedly angered after the company controlling his accounts posted a tweet reading: “@Kmbappe are you ready,” looking ahead to the semi-final against PSG.
It was posted just moments after Foden had left the pitch in Germany on Wednesday. It was later deleted and Foden has reportedly since severed ties with the company responsible.
The England midfielder is currently enjoying the best spell of his career and Guardiola talked up the academy graduate at his press conference on Friday.
“It doesn’t matter what we’ve done,” said the City boss. “It’s what we have to do today. Today everybody is involved, talking and social media, but you have to talk on the grass. It’s the only way.
“Everything we get right now is on the grass, not in any other situations. He’ll continue being there depending on his performance, not what he’s done so far at an early age.”
Foden’s eye-catching recent displays have come while Raheem Sterling has been spending time on the bench, but Guardiola sees no reason why they cannot both feature in the same side.
“Of course they can play together,” he said. “They’ve done it many, many times. Phil can play in five positions, Raheem three. Everyone can play in a few positions. It depends on them.”
Runaway Premier League leaders City’s next challenge in their quadruple quest is Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley.
Guardiola said he will have no problem getting his side to re-focus after the emotional high of Wednesday’s victory.
He said: “It’s much, much easier. Imagine playing after not qualifying for the semi-final of the Champions League. It would be much tougher.
“Of course I would love to have more days to enjoy our qualification, for recovery and to prepare for the game, but the schedule is the schedule and when you are a contender in all competitions you have to handle this schedule.”
It will be Guardiola’s first meeting in English football with Thomas Tuchel, who has overseen an upturn in form and toughened up Chelsea’s defence since taking charge in January.
Guardiola said: “He took over a team here in mid-season but has a lot of experience at top clubs like PSG and now Chelsea.
“I knew from the beginning he would do a good job. It will be a good battle in this game.”
Guardiola confirmed City record goalscorer Sergio Aguero remains on the sidelines with a muscular problem but he has no other injury concerns.
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