‘He has goals in his veins’: Pep Guardiola salutes hat-trick hero Phil Foden

A delighted Pep Guardiola said Phil Foden has “goals in his veins” after his hat-trick in Manchester City’s emphatic 4-1 win against Aston Villa on Wednesday that drew the champions level with Liverpool on 67 points, one behind Arsenal.

Rodri opened the scoring for City at the Etihad Stadium. Jhon Durán equalised on 20 minutes before Foden took over, registering in first-half added time, then on 62 and 69 minutes. It was the 23-year-old playmaker’s second ­treble of the season.

“He has goals in his veins and he has to use this,” Guardiola said.

“What can I say when he scores three goals? He didn’t start well but he improved. Phil when he plays in central positions has a feel of goal.

“He can do whatever he wants. He’s a really top‑class player, we know it but still is open minded [so] has to understand the game [more].”

Foden, with Kevin De Bruyne rested, operated as City’s No 10, and now has 21 goals in all competitions this season, his best return. Guardiola was asked how many he could end up with. “It will depend on the way we play,” the manager said.

As much as we play good and Phil is in the final third. If we play shit, he’s not going to score goals. Phil for himself is not going to score goals. He needs the process [of the team].”

Guardiola was asked about City’s title hopes. “We cannot control what Arsenal and Liverpool will do. So it will be difficult.”

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Erling Haaland was rested and Guardiola batted away a humorous suggestion that this was due to him agreeing with Roy Keane’s comment that the striker’s general contribution is like a League Two player.

“It was just to bring energy [from others],” he said. “We have an incre­dible schedule, every three days. Look what happened.”

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