Guardiola gives conflicting message about Phil Foden

Pep Guardiola insisted that he was pleased with Phil Foden’s performance against Arsenal, but admitted Manchester City played better when he was replaced.

A strong first-half performance from the champions saw them blow the Gunners away, with Kevin De Bruyne getting two goals as well as an assist for Raheem Sterling in a 3-0 triumph.

The margin was enough for City to take their foot off the gas a little bit in the second half, and Guardiola accepted that they could have played better – pointing to their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend as one example of when they have done more.

“We made an incredible result but the way we played against Manchester United was better in many, many things,” he explained to BBC Sport. “I know we are judged on the result but I have a duty to judge the performance, not just the result.”

The game gave Phil Foden a rare opportunity to start, as the teenager was selected in the initial lineup for the first time in the Premier League this season – days after scoring in the Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.

However, the England youngster was taken off for Bernardo Silva in the second half – a change which Guardiola thought made a difference.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Guardiola said of Foden: “[He] played so good, as we knew it, as normal, he played in a position he was not used to but playing away at a big club, always he does every action with a good rhythm.

“It’s not frustrating, we play fantastic. We spoke about spaces and didn’t find them so well. We talked about that and we played better when Bernardo [Silva] came in.

“We lose games this season and last season only a few, we sometimes play much better than today and we lost, football is sometimes about a duty to analyse the game, not just the result.”

The trip to the Emirates Stadium was also significant for Guardiola’s assistant Mikel Arteta, who has been linked with taking over as Arsenal’s next permanent manager.

And the City boss said the ex-Gunners midfielder remains a big influence among the City staff.

“A lot. He is part of the huge success we had. An important part.

“What will happen will happen. I think he is part of our staff so what is going to happen I don’t know.

“At the end it’s personal, if he wants a job we are open to talk. I don’t want to make him uncomfortable.”

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