Manchester City duo Jack Grealish and Phil Foden have been pictured on a night out that seemingly led to Pep Guardiola leaving them out of his side at Newcastle United on Sunday.
The England internationals both scored in the 7-0 victory over Leeds United last Tuesday but were dropped from the starting line-up at St James’ Park five days later.
Guardiola made changes after warning his players that those that do not behave in the correct manner will not play, although it is understood that John Stones was on the bench only because of Joao Cancelo’s return from suspension.
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What’s been said?
Asked if the changes were because of rotation following the 4-0 victory over Newcastle, Guardiola told BBC 5Live: “Not rotation, no. I decided for 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.
“So we have to be focussed all the time because of distractions at Christmas time and everything that happens - you have to still be focused.”
The bigger picture
Neither Grealish nor Foden came off the bench in the win over Newcastle, with Guardiola using Stones, Fernandinho and Cole Palmer instead.
City have asked their players and staff to be vigilant against the fresh wave of Covid-19 that has hit the United Kingdom, with the Premier League already impacted as six matches were postponed at the weekend.
The Premier League champions have so far escaped having to rearrange any fixtures, although Guardiola had to cancel his pre-match press conference after a lateral flow test provided an inconclusive result - testing negative later that day.
The Premier League insists that it has no plans to interrupt the planned fixture schedule in spite of the new outbreak this winter.
Both Grealish and Foden were back in training on Monday and will be hoping to reclaim their places for a busy festive schedule with games against Leicester City, Brentford and Arsenal in the space of seven days immediately after Christmas Day.