By Daniel Sandford
12th December 2018,
Updated: 13th December 2018,
Pep Guardiola praised ‘skinny’ Phil Foden and his Manchester City side for overcomingHoffenheim 2-1 in the Champions Leagueto secure top spot in Group F with qualification already assured.
Andrej Kramaric had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, but City who were twice denied by the woodwork, drew level thanks to a stunning Leroy Sane free-kick in first-half stoppage time.
The current Premier League champions were wasteful after the break, but took the lead for the first time when Sane netted his second after being played in by the excellent Raheem Sterling.
After a difficult few days in which the England international was subject to alleged racist abuse at Stamford Bridge on Saturday before speaking out on social media the following day about the influence of media play in discrimination, Sterling was at the heart of allCitydid good on Wednesday.
“Incredible. Today we finished the group stage in the best way. We will try to arrive in the last 16 in the best condition with players fit. Big compliment for this group because every group is tough and we did it so well,” Guardiola said at his press conference.
Phil Foden started at Etihad Stadium and showed flashes of his quality, including one superbly struck volley which was well saved by Oliver Baumann and his performance impressed the City boss.
“Phil was incredible, the way he played,” Guardiola said.
“I would never have doubts about the quality of that guy.
“It is not just the quality with the ball. He looks skinny, not strong, but he’s really, really strong.
“He’s an outstanding young player, a huge talent. I think England has a diamond.
“He’s special, he has had minutes and in the future will have a lot of them. He played like a real man. He played so good.”
City return to league action on Saturday lunchtime with a home match against Everton and will be hoping to bounce back following their first defeat of the season at Chelsea.