Midfielder scores first-half goal in team’s 3-1 triumph on Monday
Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola labelled young midfielder Phil Foden as “incredible” after his team survived a scare to start their Premier League title challenge with a 3-1 win against Wolves on Monday.
City’s delayed start to the campaign — due to their involvement in last season’s Champions League — had allowed Liverpool to build a six-point lead over them before they had even kicked a ball.
Guardiola’s side could not afford to slip up at Molineux if they wanted to keep pace with the champions and they raced into a two-goal lead before half-time thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty and Foden’s cool finish.
City’s swaggering first-half gave way to an anxious spell as Wolves dominated after the interval and they had to cling on after Raul Jimenez got one back before Gabriel Jesus sealed the points in stoppage time.
Foden’s goal was a welcome morale boost in his first match since the midfielder was sent home in disgrace, along with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, after the pair invited local women into the England team’s hotel.
The breach of coronavirus protocols after England’s Nations League match in Iceland was publicly condemned by City, but the 20-year-old retains Guardiola’s trust.
“For the goal and in the second half, Foden played incredibly well, he helped us keep the ball,” Guardiola said.
While City equalled Aston Villa’s record of winning 10 consecutive opening fixtures to a top-flight season, there is little doubt Liverpool remain the Premier League’s preeminent force for now.
But Guardiola was delighted to open with a victory given the shorter than usual pre-season.
“We could not run much because we are tired in our legs but in general we did a good game,” he said. “The period that we are in, the situation that we had this last two weeks, I expected some moments where we suffer but in general we controlled it well. It was a good performance. We know how difficult it is in this stadium.”
He added: “Sometimes we need more time to get to our best condition but it was a good start to come here and win.”