“It was not rotation, no,” Guardiola said. “I decided on this team because they deserved to play today, these guys and not the other ones. At Christmas time 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.”
“I didn’t rotate today,” he said. “If the players believe I rotated for that game they are mistaken.”
Grealish and Foden were both unused substitutes during the 4-0 win, despite both getting on the scoresheet during City’s 7-0 win over Leeds last week.
What exactly did Pep mean about their behaviour?
Well, according to the Telegraph, the two players went to a nightclub following City’s thrashing of Leeds on Tuesday. The club were unhappy with the condition in which they reported the next day for a recovery session.
Guardiola wasn’t at the training ground on Wednesday as he flew to Barcelona to attend Sergio Aguero’s retirement announcement. Pep was unimpressed when he heard the news.
City coped well without the two star players, easing to another Premier League victory against Newcastle.
It meant they established a three-point lead at the top of the table with Liverpool and Chelsea both failing to win.
City are due to face Leicester on Boxing Day before travelling to Brentford next Wednesday.
And Guardiola insists that he will continue to select the very best side for the upcoming matches – taking into account their off-pitch behaviour.
“So we have to be focussed all the time because of distractions at Christmas time and everything that happens – you have to still be focussed,” Pep added.
“I decide the best team today for the way they play. We needed a different pace for the players and that’s why they play.
“I don’t know if we are going to play Leicester [on Boxing Day], unfortunately they have a lot of [Covid] cases, hopefully they are getting better. It depends what we see in the training sessions and it depends what we see on and off the pitch – how the players behave in this period – and I will take a decision.”