Foden never hides – Guardiola hails Man City’s Champions League hero

Phil Foden and Pep Guardiola

Phil Foden and Pep Guardiola

Phil Foden again showed his aptitude for high-pressure moments after firing Manchester City into the Champions League semi-finals.

In the first leg of their last-eight clash with Borussia Dortmund last week, Foden scored a 90th-minute winner to leave City 2-1 to the good.

Despite falling behind at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday to an early effort from another England youngster, Jude Bellingham, City levelled through Riyad Mahrez’s penalty before Foden fired home from a cleverly worked short corner to repeat the first-leg scoreline and seal a showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.

“You have the feeling that he is a guy who never hides. He always creates something. He is dynamic offensively, defensively with quality in the smaller spaces,” Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

“He is learning right now not to take just one touch, he is able to make more touches when making decisions.

“He scored two important goals, the second goal in the Etihad and today helped us to be in the semi-final. In the quarter-final of the Champions League, he was the important player to go through to play against PSG.”

Foden became the second player younger than 21 to score in both legs of a Champions League quarter-final after Kylian Mbappe did so for Monaco against Dortmund in 2017.

The meeting with Mbappe and his PSG team-mates is a mouthwatering prospect, with City into the semi-finals for the first time under Guardiola.

Quarter-final defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon have cast a considerable shadow over an otherwise excellent tenure in Manchester, although Guardiola hesitated to agree when it was suggested his players came of age by beating Dortmund

“In this competition during one game there are many moments,” he said, having tasted success with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.

“[Dortmund] started well, we had a plan to press but it didn’t work, we changed it after 10-15 minutes and played with wingers more inside, usually they are wider and that is why we add more connections with the midfield players – Phil, Riyad, Bernardo [Silva], Kevin [De Bruyne], Gundo [Ilkay Gundogan], Rodri.

“After the goal, in the last 30 minutes of the first half we had an incredible two or three chances chances to score a goal. In the second half we found a goal and played good. We didn’t concede one shot, we created enough chances to win and finally we are in the semi-finals for the second time in the club’s history.”

Guardiola added: “At half-time we spoke and said, ‘Guys, we have to score a goal. Even if they score to make it 2-0, one goal gives extra time. We have to score.’

“After we made it 1-1, we controlled the game. After that, the quality from Phil’s finish helped us to go to the semi-final.”