Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that they must behave on and off the pitch in order to be picked for games. Phil Foden and Jack Grealish were pictured on a night out after the 7-0 win against Leeds United and were subsequently dropped for the win over Newcastle on Sunday.
City won 4-0 but Guardiola told the BBC after the game: “I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch. And when off the pitch is not proper they are not going to play. So they have to be focused all the time because the distractions in the Christmas time and everything that happens – you have to still be focused.”
Guardiola, who did not mention Grealish or Foden by name, had a Covid scare himself on Thursday when he returned an inconclusive test before the game at St James’ Park. He postponed his pre-game press conference but was later given the green light to lead the team against Newcastle.
Foden and Grealish did not breach any Covid rules on the night out but have in the past been reprimanded for doing so. Last year, Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home from England duty in Iceland after breaking breaking coronavirus isolation rules.
Foden said at the time: “On this occasion I made a poor decision and my behaviour didn’t meet the standards expected of me. I breached Covid‑19 protocols put in place to protect myself and my England colleagues. I will learn a valuable lesson from this error in judgment and I wish Gareth and the team good luck this week.”
Grealish was warned by Aston Villa in March 2020 after being pictured at the scene of a road accident on a Sunday morning. Without giving any details about the incident in Solihull when a Range Rover crashed into two parked cars, the player admitted he was at the scene after defying the ban against non-essential travel by going to visit a friend.
Less than 24 hours before the incident, Grealish had issued a public appeal to his social media followers to “Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.”