Jack Grealish and Phil Foden have been warned about their off-field behaviour by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after being pictured on a night out.

Grealish and Foden dropped out of City's starting line-up for Sunday's 4-0 win at Newcastle with Guardiola hinting post-game that the decision was not rotation.

On Monday, The Telegraph published a photo of the pair believed to be at a nightclub following last Tuesday's 7-0 rout of Leeds United.

According to the report, City staff were unimpressed with the condition of Grealish and Foden when they arrived at a recovery session the next day, with Guardiola absent to attend Sergio Aguero's retirement conference in Barcelona but kept informed on the situation.

"I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch," Guardiola said after Sunday's game.

Guardiola added on BBC Radio 5 Live: "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 Christmastime and everything that happens - you have to still be focused."

Grealish and Foden along with John Stones were the only changes from the starting XI that beat Leeds, with the latter used as a 70th-minute substitute against the Magpies.

The City manager had labelled Grealish as "outstanding" after he scored in the win over Leeds last week.

Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on "outstanding" Jack Grealish ahead of Manchester City's trip to Newcastle United.

City are a point clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table following a run of seven successive victories. Another would see them set a new top-flight record for the most wins in a single calendar year with 34.

The latest of these saw them inflict a 7-0 rout on a helpless Leeds United in midweek, with record signing Grealish on target during an impressive display that also saw him complete 41 of his 43 attempted passes and draw a game-high three fouls.

It was only the former Aston Villa skipper's second Premier League goal since that big-money move to the Etihad Stadium, while he also has two assists to his name. It was also the first headed goal of his Premier League career.

But Guardiola, whose initially inconclusive COVID-19 test result was later revealed as negative, insists he has been delighted with the all-round contribution of the England international.

Indeed, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (47), Bruno Fernandes (45) and Mohamed Salah (34) have created more chances than Grealish (30) in the English top flight this season.

"Jack is an outstanding player. He has so much quality and has played so well for us," Guardiola said. "It is important for every player to feel like they are contributing with goals, but he has been playing well all season, and we know what to expect from him.

"It takes time to get used to a new team, a new way of playing, but Jack knows what he has to do, and we will continue to see this."

The omens heading into the match appear to lean strongly in City's favour.

Indeed, they have suffered just one defeat in their 13 most recent league games at St James' Park, winning nine of those, whereas 19th-place Newcastle are targeting only a second win of the season.

City have scored in each of the last 25 meetings between the two sides. In the Premier League's history, only Arsenal have had a longer scoring streak against a specific opponent, netting in 26 successive games against West Brom, so City can match that record on Sunday.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has lost all 10 of his Premier League encounters with City, going back to his time as Bournemouth boss. That is the worst 100 per cent losing record any manager has against a specific opponent in the competition's history.

Nevertheless, Guardiola knows his side must be at their best to avoid any potential slip-ups against the Magpies.

"It is not easy to go to Newcastle and get a result, so we will need the whole team, and hopefully we will be strong enough to get the points," Guardiola added.

"People will talk about our place in the table or their place in the table, but when you go to Newcastle, you know what sort of game to expect.

"Everyone wants to win every match and at this level, you have to be prepared for this. Newcastle in their stadium with their fans behind them, they will be ready, and they have the quality to hurt us if we don’t play at our best. We are playing well and getting results we want, but we have to continue this."

Manchester City kept pace at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa as Jack Grealish managed only a late cameo against his former club.

Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva put the visitors into the ascendancy with first-half strikes as City claimed their 11th win in 12 meetings with Villa.

Ollie Watkins halved the deficit after the interval prior to the introduction of Grealish, who returned to Villa Park for the first time since joining Pep Guardiola's side for a British record £100million fee.

City remain a point behind leaders Chelsea, who triumphed 2-1 in their away fixture at Watford on Wednesday.

Rodri stung Emiliano Martinez's hands as City dominated the opening stages before Leon Bailey saw a seemingly goal-bound effort blocked at the other end.

Dias then proved the unlikely first goalscorer with a deflected left-footed effort into the bottom-right corner following Raheem Sterling's cutback to the edge of the area.

City doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Gabriel Jesus raced away on the counter and clipped across for Silva, who converted with an expert first-time volley.

Watkins pegged Guardiola's team back as he hooked a low volley just inside the right-hand post from Douglas Luiz's corner before Ezri Konsa poked narrowly wide amid claims for a penalty for a Nathan Ake foul.

Jesus looked to add a third but miscued a half-volley well over, while Ederson was required to deny Carney Chukwuemeka in excellent fashion as City held on for another victory.

What does it mean? City keep in pursuit of Chelsea

City have now won 13 of their past 15 Premier League meetings against Villa and Guardiola's side remain a point behind Chelsea and one ahead of third-placed Liverpool after 14 games.

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard – who was looking to become the first Villa boss to win all three of his opening games – sees his side left in 13th after being outclassed by the reigning champions.

Sterling and Silva shine

Silva has been in fine form for City in recent weeks, scoring four times in his past seven leagues appearances, as many as he had in his previous 55 in the competition.

But fellow attacker Sterling also shone as he laid on a joint-high five key passes – one of those the assist for Dias' opener – in a classy creative showing.

City forward search remains prominent

City were in the market for Harry Kane as Guardiola searched for a striker in the last transfer window.

Jesus remains the sole nominal striker and the Brazil international failed to fire as only one of his game-high six attempts found the target and he produced a woeful second-half miss from Silva's cross.

What's next?

City travel to Watford on Saturday, while Villa host Leicester City the following day.

Jack Grealish is finding life at Manchester City tougher than expected but is relishing the opportunity of playing in the Champions League.

Grealish left boyhood club Aston Villa for a British record £100 million fee ahead of the 2021-22 season as he joined Pep Guardiola's already impressive wealth of attacking riches.

The England international has since made his Champions League debut, scoring against RB Leipzig in September, while featuring regularly for City in the Premier League until suffering an injury on international duty with England earlier in November.

Grealish, who might be fit to face his former club on Wednesday, conceded the task of European football, and adapting to his new club, has been far more challenging than expected.

However, he in no way regrets his decision to swap Birmingham for Manchester.

"You only get one shot at your career and it just flies by," Grealish told The Telegraph. "I feel Villa are going towards that [Europe] but I just didn't know how long it was going to take for us. 

"If I hadn't come here, I would have regretted it forever. I remember hearing Michael Owen say the same about Real Madrid.

"You look at most of my England team-mates – I was probably one of the last to play [in the] Champions League. You could probably count two or three who haven't, such as Kalvin Phillips or Sam Johnstone.

"It's the one we all want to win. The manager has come here and won everything else, we're all desperate to win it and I've come here to try and help them.

"I've got so much more to give. I've found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would, adapting to a different manager and team-mates. 

"At first I thought I'd have more of the ball, get more assists and goals but it doesn't work like that at all. I've had nowhere near as much of the ball as I used to get at Villa."

Grealish has started in all of his nine appearances in the Premier League for City, who are a point behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games, but, as he explains himself, he is seeing less of the ball as a part of Guardiola's remarkable depth of attackers.

Grealish attempted 4.53 dribbles per 90 minutes in the league for Villa last term, which has reduced to 3.39 with City and this may have translated into his final output.

With Villa, he scored or assisted every 137 minutes, a figure that goes up to 248 this term with just one top-flight goal and two assists to his name.

He managed six goals and 10 assists in 26 appearances last season, creating 3.34 chances per match and shooting 2.06 times. Again, this falls to 3.15 for the former and 1.94 for the latter with the reigning champions.

Grealish also revealed he came close to joining City's neighbours Manchester United in 2020.

"I was really close to going, but nothing happened in the end," he said of the potential United transfer. "We played United in a pre-season game on [the] Saturday and I wasn't supposed to play in a cup game at Burton. 

"But after the United game I said to [Christian] Purslow [Villa's chief executive] and my agent [David Manasseh] 'if I'm not leaving, I'll sign my new contract'.

"I went in with my dog on Tuesday morning, signed the deal, and played later that day. We all agreed on the clause and if any team hit that, it's a win-win because it means I've had an unbelievable season and Villa got £100 million."

Reiterating how difficult it was to move on from his former club, Grealish added: "You can't imagine how hard it was for me to leave.

"I was a bit surprised by some of the backlash when I left. I'd never want a toxic relationship with anyone there. I owe everything to them and I wouldn’t be at City without Villa.

"If I score, I'm not going to be celebrating. At the end of the day, I'm Jack Grealish from Solihull who loves the Villa."

Pep Guardiola praised Jack Grealish for "starting perfectly" at Manchester City but is unsure if the playmaker will be fit to feature against former club Aston Villa on Wednesday,

Grealish has featured in 15 of City's 21 matches since joining the club from Villa in a £100m British record transfer from Aston Villa in August, starting 13 of those.

The 26-year-old was an unused substitute for the derby win over Manchester United on November 6 and has not played since due to a knock sustained on England duty.

He returned to training on Monday and will be monitored ahead of Wednesday's clash at Villa Park, where he spent 20 years – seven as a first-team regular – prior to joining City.

Grealish has a lot of work to do in order to repay his hefty price tag, but Guardiola has been pleased with the attacking midfielder's impact thus far when fit and available.

"He has started perfectly," Guardiola said of Grealish at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

"It's easy because of our English players and the other guys here are nice people. He's played good but needs more time to settle." 

Grealish has scored two goals and assisted three more this term, while his tally of seven big chances created is the joint-most of any City player alongside Joao Cancelo.

However, the 3.15 chances Grealish has created per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season is down on the 3.34 managed in his final campaign with Villa.

He is also attempting fewer dribbles (3.39 compared to 4.53) for City and is being fouled less frequently (down from 4.53 to 2.66), a sign that he is getting at opponents less.

Guardiola puts down that down to the contrasting styles of City and next opponents Villa.

"If you analyse games, he hasn't played badly. The way we play and our expectations are different to Villa," Guardiola said.

"He did incredibly well at Villa. His commitment to the club to stay and get promoted was amazing. 

"Now he has come back from the international break injured. Hopefully he comes back and step by step finds his form. 

"We have six, seven months ahead of us. I don't think we will have to wait until next season to see the best Jack Grealish – I'm thinking this season."

Providing an update on City's other recent absentees, Guardiola confirmed Kevin De Bruyne has returned a negative coronavirus test but has yet to train.

Phil Foden remains doubtful having trained only once, while Ferran Torres is a long-term absentee and Aymeric Laporte is suspended.

"All the people who have had coronavirus say it drains them and Kevin needs time to show his form," Guardiola said. 

"Phil and Jack are still in the same situation. Maybe tomorrow they can play but not a lot of minutes – we're going to see after they train today.

"The rest, we have just 14 or 15 players. But I trust this squad a lot. If one is out, another comes in.

"December is the toughest month of the year for us and we are in trouble because we have so few players available."

Wednesday's match at Villa Park will be the first managerial encounter between Guardiola and new Villa boss Steven Gerrard.

Guardiola has lost just three of his 64 Premier League games against English managers, coming against Roy Hodgson (December 2018), Frank Lampard (June 2020) and Graham Potter (May 2021).

Gerrard has won his first two Villa games since arriving from Rangers – no manager in the club's history has won their first three matches – and Guardiola is expecting a tough test in the Midlands.

"He's managing in the Premier League, so he is already a good manager," Guardiola said. "I don't believe there's a manager in the Premier League, even the Championship, who isn't good. 

"They can train good players in good clubs to punch for the titles. There are incredible managers in all aspects and maybe they win titles because they are lucky to train a good team.

"I can imagine with a new manager everybody steps forward for training sessions and methodology to convince the manager. 

"They have had two good results against tough teams like Brighton and Crystal Palace. It will be the toughest game possible tomorrow."

Kevin De Bruyne is set to miss Manchester City's next three matches after testing positive for coronavirus.

City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed on Friday that De Bruyne will have to isolate for 10 days after returning a positive test.

That means he will miss Sunday's clash with Everton, Wednesday's huge Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain and the Premier League meeting against West Ham next weekend.

"Kevin has tested positive for Covid so he must isolate for 10 days," Guardiola told a media conference.

"We have to be careful, people are dying from Covid, he is vaccinated so hopefully he will be okay.

"Now he has to recover well. The human being is more important than anything else."

De Bruyne's absence may be magnified by injuries to fellow attacking midfielders Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, who returned from international duty with England with knocks.

Guardiola does not expect Grealish to be available to face Everton and is unsure on whether Foden will be ready for the visit of the Toffees.

"We have Jack getting better after he went to the national team," he added. 

"Phil Foden came back with a knock and a problem in his leg, but he is getting better.

"Jack, I don't think so [will be available]. Phil we will see."

Though he enjoys the impact international breaks have on his appearance, Guardiola is happy City can now focus on their Premier League challenge and qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League without interruption until January.

"As a club manager, it is a dream because I have a week's holiday," Guardiola said about international breaks. "Look at my tan, it's much better than at the United game.

"But at the same time I'm concerned because every international break we're unlucky.

"Players come back from the national team and they get injured, this time is not an exception. We get them fit, they come back not fit.

"Now until January, there is no international break and hopefully we can get a point and qualify for the Champions League and fight for the title at the end of the season."

Gareth Southgate is hopeful Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish "won't miss too much football" after the duo withdrew from the England squad ahead of Monday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

The Three Lions' manager confirmed that both players suffered minor injuries in Friday's 5-0 win over Albania.

Grealish did manage to train the following day, but he has now returned to Manchester City for further assessment, while Henderson has headed back to Liverpool.

England only need to avoid defeat against the lowest-ranked team in the world to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Speaking at a media conference on Sunday, Southgate said: "With Henderson it was within the [Albania] game. With Jack, we think a little bit perhaps within the game, but he trained yesterday. As a precaution, we scanned them both, so there are small injuries on the scans.

"We just hope that they're not going to miss too much football ball from here on. It shouldn't be too bad in either case, but we just have to see how that progresses."

Southgate confirmed that Raheem Sterling has also withdrawn from the squad for personal reasons.

He also ruled Chelsea's Mason Mount (dental) and Manchester United's Luke Shaw (concussion) out of contention, with the pair having also missed the Albania game.

It was confirmed earlier on Sunday that Crystal Palace's on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher has been drafted in from England's U21 squad for his first senior call-up.

Southgate insisted that both he and Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe – who made his senior debut off the bench against Albania – had been called up on merit.

When asked about older players like James Maddison, Callum Wilson and Patrick Bamford being overlooked, he said: "We haven't had an opening for a forward, and Patrick's been injured as well. In terms of the others, we think Conor and Emile are playing better than others that we could have called in, simple as that.

"The door is never closed. I like the idea of bringing young players in because you're investing in England's future.

"It would be easier perhaps in the short term to bring in an older player, but I'm not certain there are older players who are playing better than those two at this current moment in time in the positions they are playing."

Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Mason Mount and Luke Shaw remain doubts for England's World Cup qualifier against Albania, but Jack Grealish is back in training and is set to be available for the clash at Wembley Stadium on Friday.

It will be the Three Lions' final home game of the year and a win will see them move within one point of qualifying for Qatar 2022 from Group I, assuming second-placed Poland do not fail to win in Andorra.

The England manager has already lost Marcus Rashford, James Ward-Prowse and Declan Rice to injury from his initial squad, with Emile Smith Rowe the only replacement called up.

Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, when asked about the availability of Mount (dental) and Shaw (concussion), Southgate said "I've got to check in with our medical staff for our update. The longer it goes, the more unlikely it is.

"Mason has to recover from his dental surgery. Luke didn't pass his [head injury assessment] after the first day and rightly, we have to follow the guidelines with that.

"Jack Grealish has trained and is ready if required."

Southgate was asked how Arsenal youngster Smith Rowe has settled into the squad after his first senior call-up.

"He has settled really well," he added. "He obviously knows a couple of his club teammates and Phil [Foden] from the U17s. This is a group that makes new players very welcome so it's not a difficult environment to settle in and his quality has been apparent from the way he has trained.

"We have always worked on the basis that we need a strong squad because you will get injuries. We have depth and we have players who have been waiting for opportunities to play."

England captain Harry Kane was also present at the media conference and emphasised the need for he and his team-mates to brush off the disappointment of their 1-1 draw at Wembley in their previous qualifier against Hungary.

Kane said "Whenever you have a disappointing game, or you don't reach the standards you normally reach, it kind of wakes you up a little bit and makes you realise there's still work to do, still more to improve on.

"Three points from that game would have really helped towards securing qualification, so now it's about turning it round and responding to that game. We've had a great week of preparation but it's all about performing when the pressure's on and the team have done that before."

Kane was also asked about his own start to the season, having scored only once in his first 10 Premier League games for Tottenham. He was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City in the last transfer window, but denied that it has had an influence on his performances.

"Losing a European final for your country at Wembley will probably stay with me the rest of my career. You never really get over those things, unless we go and win a major tournament. That always stings but I'm pretty used to getting back into things," Kane said.

"There was a lot of speculation over the summer, that's the first real time that's happened to me. But that's part and parcel of being a big player, having to deal with those situations, and I think I dealt with it well. Now it's about focusing. There's still a long way to go at club level and we've got these two games to finish off what's been a great calendar year [for England]."

Aston Villa have sacked head coach Dean Smith after five consecutive defeats left the club just two points clear of the Premier League's bottom three heading into the November international break.

Smith was appointed at Villa Park in October 2018 and quickly led his boyhood club back to the top flight via the Championship play-offs.

Villa just about survived relegation in their first season back up and also reached the EFL Cup final, before kicking on last term and finishing 11th.

But Villa sold talismanic captain Jack Grealish to Manchester City for a British record £100million fee before the start of the 2021-22 campaign and have struggled in his absence.

Smith's side did win away at Manchester United on September 25, but they have lost every match since then, most recently 1-0 at Southampton on Friday.

Villa have lost seven of their 11 Premier League games this season, conceding 20 goals. It was not until their 18th league game last season that they lost as many games and conceded as many goals.

But Smith, who won 39.6 per cent of his 139 games in charge, departs with the best wishes of Villa supporters – including Grealish.

"No1 will ever compare," Grealish wrote on Twitter. "The real goat."

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a club statement on Sunday: "The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time.

"Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the club with distinction and dignity – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa, our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best."

With basement side Norwich City also dismissing Daniel Farke this weekend, there have now been five managerial departures in the Premier League this season (also Xisco Munoz, Steve Bruce and Nuno Espirito Santo).

There were only four in the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign (Slaven Bilic, Frank Lampard, Chris Wilder and Jose Mourinho).

Victor Lindelof and Mason Greenwood were recalled to Manchester United's starting line-up for Saturday's Premier League showdown with Manchester City.

Centre-back Lindelof missed Tuesday's 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta with a knock sustained in training and was considered doubtful for the Manchester derby.

However, the Sweden international returned for the clash at Old Trafford in place of Raphael Varane, who was injured in that midweek European match and faces a month out.

Lindelof started in a back three alongside Eric Bailly – making just a third start of the season – and Harry Maguire, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sticking to a 3-5-2 system employed in his side's last two games.

Unlike those previous two matches, there was a place in the starting line-up for Greenwood, who came in for Marcus Rashford. Edinson Cavani was not included in the squad due to injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo led United's attack as expected as he looked to build on a return of three goals in his past five Premier League meetings with City.

Fred was the other change made by Solskjaer from the Atalanta match, the Brazil international replacing Paul Pogba as he continues to serve a domestic suspension.

City also made three changes from their 4-1 win over Club Brugge in the week, with Jack Grealish's exclusion being the big talking point.

The British record signing's place in the starting line-up was taken by Kevin De Bruyne, who was expected to play through the middle of the forward line in the absence of a recognised striker.

Asked to explain the decision, City boss Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports: "We want a left foot on the left side and right foot on right side. That is the reason."

Aymeric Laporte also made way after being sent off in last week's 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace, with Ruben Dias getting the nod at the back alongside John Stones, while Gabriel Jesus came in for the benched Riyad Mahrez.

United were unbeaten in their last four league games against City heading into Saturday's meeting – their longest such run against their fierce rivals since a run of six between 2008 and 2011.

Victor Lindelof and Mason Greenwood were recalled to Manchester United's starting line-up for Saturday's Premier League showdown with Manchester City.

Centre-back Lindelof missed Tuesday's 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta with a knock sustained in training and was considered doubtful for the Manchester derby.

However, the Sweden international returned for the clash at Old Trafford in place of Raphael Varane, who was injured in that midweek European match and faces a month out.

Lindelof started in a back three alongside Eric Bailly – making just a third start of the season – and Harry Maguire, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sticking to a 3-5-2 system employed in his side's last two games.

Unlike those previous two matches, there was a place in the starting line-up for Greenwood, who came in for Marcus Rashford. Edinson Cavani was not included in the squad due to injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo led United's attack as expected as he looked to build on a return of three goals in his past five Premier League meetings with City.

Fred was the other change made by Solskjaer from the Atalanta match, the Brazil international replacing Paul Pogba as he continues to serve a domestic suspension.

City also made three changes from their 4-1 win over Club Brugge in the week, with Jack Grealish's exclusion being the big talking point.

The British record signing's place in the starting line-up was taken by Kevin De Bruyne, who was expected to play through the middle of the forward line in the absence of a recognised striker.

Asked to explain the decision, City boss Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports: "We want a left foot on the left side and right foot on right side. That is the reason."

Aymeric Laporte also made way after being sent off in last week's 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace, with Ruben Dias getting the nod at the back alongside John Stones, while Gabriel Jesus came in for the benched Riyad Mahrez.

United were unbeaten in their last four league games against City heading into Saturday's meeting – their longest such run against their fierce rivals since a run of six between 2008 and 2011.

Pep Guardiola has explained why Manchester City signed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa despite already possessing a wealth of attacking talent.

The England international became the Premier League's most expensive player in August, arriving in Manchester for a fee of £100million, as City smashed their transfer record despite boasting the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden in the wide and attacking midfield roles.

Guardiola, who led City to their third Premier League title in four years last season, insisted that signing top-quality players is necessary to keep things fresh for a successful side.

"[We signed Grealish because of his] quality in the final third," Guardiola said ahead of City's Champions League clash with Club Brugge on October 19. "He is able to attract opponents and find his [team-mates].

"We have many players but we added another one because we have a lot of games in many competitions. He is at a perfect age and when you are on top in those competitions, the squad must be removed a little bit otherwise it is difficult.

"Everyone has to feel the pressure from the new ones, and the new ones have to understand what the club has done. All the big clubs do it."

Guardiola feels Grealish has performed well since his arrival, adapting to the new challenge of playing regular European football alongside domestic competitions.

Since his arrival at City, the 26-year-old has managed two goals and two assists from 10 appearances across all competitions.

Additionally, the playmaker leads his team for chances created (22) and has the second-highest dribble success rate of any player to have attempted at least 20 (53.13 per cent).

"We spoke about [playing in Europe] and how he has to live when he is not here, in terms of eating, resting and sleeping," Guardiola continued.

"What he has done so far is excellent. Apart from [against] Burnley, he has played every game at a good level and I'm sure he will improve. As a manager, you have to know the best position, but he has played very well.

"He is focused on and off the pitch and he is strong, his weight and body fat is perfect and he is mentally is in the right position. It is the first time he plays every three days. We play every three days for 11 months and it's difficult but it is a good challenge for him."

Guardiola praised City's upcoming opponents for their quality in attack and revealed that Brazilian pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus are both in contention to feature after flying straight to Belgium after the international break.

"We see the protocols, [Ederson and Jesus] couldn't land [in England] unless they isolate [for] 10 days," Guardiola added. "We will join them in the hotel and [on Tuesday] they will do preparation, maybe play, maybe not.

"I'm sure they will feel good because they recovered really well, they will train there, and we will see tonight how they feel.

"What we have seen [from Club Brugge] is physicality and they know what they have to do. They have a lot of quality up front. We go there, we have four games left and 12 points to fight for to qualify for the last 16.

"This is the target, and our mentality will be the same. We want to make them adjust and control the game with how we play."

Jack Grealish was delighted to finally get off the mark in an England shirt after adding the final goal in Saturday's 5-0 win at Andorra.

A reshuffled England side were comfortable throughout as they closed on World Cup qualification, recording their sixth win in seven matches in this campaign.

The Three Lions were two up by half-time through Ben Chilwell and Bukayo Saka, the latter assisted by the outstanding Phil Foden. It was the first time two England players aged 21 or under had combined for a World Cup qualifying goal since Steven Gerrard's assist for Michael Owen against Germany in 2001.

Tammy Abraham got in on the act after half-time, before Grealish made a significant impact from the bench.

In 17 minutes, the £100million man won a penalty, which James Ward-Prowse saw saved before tucking away the rebound, and then hit the net following Sam Johnstone's throw from an Andorra set-piece.

The last substitute to win a penalty and score a goal in a European World Cup qualifier while playing 17 minutes or fewer had been Nicklas Bendtner in a six-minute cameo for Denmark against the Republic of Ireland in November 2017.

Grealish's goal came in his 16th appearance for his country, and the Manchester City winger acknowledged the drought had been on his mind. 

"It has been a long time coming, and it's about time that I scored because everyone has been saying it to me," Grealish told BBC 5 live.

 

"I think that is 16 games now. It was coming, and I'm just delighted that I've got off the mark.

"I want to be starting games, to be starting the biggest of games and keep playing for England. Luckily over the past few months and during the Euros I've had the chance to do that.

"In the back of my mind there has been that feeling that I've just wanted to score, just to get off the mark. Obviously I've done that tonight, I'm delighted, and it's a night I won't forget."

For Abraham, meanwhile, it was his first England goal for almost two years.

The Roma striker became the first England player to score while affiliated to an Italian team since David Platt, then with Sampdoria, netted against Sweden in 1995.

"I need to keep performing for my club and I hope I'll be in more camps going forward leading to the World Cup," said Abraham.

"It is never straightforward against Andorra. It was hard to break them down, but you could see the quality in the team as we had to find ways to score, and we did.

"I knew the opportunity would come. Jadon told me at half-time that sometimes he would cut back on his right and try and find me in the middle of the goal, so I should be ready.

"I was ready that time and got a good toe onto the ball. I was in the right place at the right time and I took my chance."

Jack Grealish has made an impressive start as he adapts to life at Manchester City, according to the club's former striker Paul Dickov.

Ex-Aston Villa star Grealish signed for a British record £100million fee ahead of the 2021-22 season, bolstering an impressive group of playmakers in Pep Guardiola's squad.

Dickov believes the attacking midfielder has been given a run of games so that he learns the differences of playing at City, where he will not be the "main man" as he was with Villa.

And he has been happy with the England international's start at the club, with Grealish scoring twice and adding two assists across 10 appearances in all competitions.

Dickov told Stats Perform: "No disrespect to Aston Villa, but there's a lot more quality in the squad at Manchester City and they play a different way. 

"When Jack was at Aston Villa last season and the season before, he was the main man all the time. 

"When Aston Villa players got the ball and they wanted to attack they gave the ball to Jack Grealish, and he was the main man. 

"At Manchester City the ball goes to Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. So Jack's had to adapt his game and also without the ball. 

"At Aston Villa he didn't necessarily have to defend, he could afford to be that player that could just win them the game without doing much without the ball.

"Whereas we all know that Pep Guardiola demands the players to work hard without the ball. 

"So I think the fact that he started every game was a process of bedding him in to how Manchester City play and letting him know what it takes to be part of a Pep team. 

"And I think he's done really well and it has been interesting as well that he's started every single game.

"When you have the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus — Pep seems to rotate that front three a lot." 

Dickov added: "The last couple of games and Liverpool especially he looked a little bit tired. 

"He's one of the only one of the front three players that started every game, and especially it was on the back of a massive week against Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool. 

"But I think he's been outstanding and I'm a massive fan of Jack Grealish."

City are two points behind leaders Chelsea after seven Premier League matches, having drawn 2-2 with Liverpool in that Anfield thriller on Sunday.

They conceded more goals in that game than in their previous seven league outings combined beforehand (one).

City also faced four shots on target against Liverpool, only two fewer than they had in their six other Premier League matches combined this season.

Grealish is now with the England squad and, having played 762 minutes of club football this season, only Declan Rice and Conor Coady have had a higher workload than him among outfield players in the squad.

Trepidation has been a common feeling among Manchester City fans when it comes to the adaptation of new signings under Pep Guardiola.

That's not necessarily down to doubts over the players generally, or Guardiola, but rather how those two factors will come together.

After all, it's been noted for a while now just how common it seems to be for Guardiola's signings to perhaps underwhelm in their first season at City, only to then kick on and really make an impact in their second season.

While it's hardly an exact science, numerous players fit into that category; Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva are certainly among them, and there's even a case to be made that Ferran Torres could qualify given he's made a solid start to 2021-22 after an up-and-down 2020-21.

Jack Grealish probably wouldn't have had too many supporters concerned, though you could argue the pressure on him to succeed straight away was far greater and that in itself might've been a burden.

Yet his transition from key man at Aston Villa to a similarly central figure has been impressively seamless.

If it ain't broken…

Much of the focus around Grealish's £100million move to City centred on where he would be deployed by Guardiola.

There were a lot of suggestions that he was actually set to be tried in more of a central position, perhaps with the idea being to make the most of his ball-carrying abilities.

While Grealish's name has seemingly been spotted in various starting positions on line-up graphics and the like, he's still unmistakably been more prominent out on the left flank – 73 per cent of his actions have been localised to the left side of the pitch in the opposition's half, up from 51 per cent at Villa last term.

Of course, at City he is in a team that spends more time on the front foot and in possession than Villa in 2020-21, so such an increase isn't exactly a surprise, but it does suggest Guardiola hasn't tried to make major changes just yet.

Instant influence

Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was probably Grealish's trickiest game yet for City – as one might expect.

That's not to say he played especially poorly, as he did manage to record a couple of key passes, but generally he was frustrated. Achraf Hakimi's athleticism helped the Moroccan do a good job on Grealish, while referee Carlos del Cerro Grande was rarely sympathetic to the England international.

It wasn't a huge surprise when Guardiola opted to withdraw him with 22 minutes remaining, but despite that blip, there has been plenty to be optimistic about Grealish's settling-in period at City.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grealish's trademark comfort on the ball has been a particular factor, and his start at City speaks to his own self-belief.

He's averaging 25 carries (defined as movements of at least five metres in possession) each game in the Premier League, more than any other player, while his total carry distance of 1,787.5 metres is second only to a man who seems to know no other skill, Adama Traore (1,844.5m).

His forays on the ball are helping to drive City forward as well, with Traore (55) and Allan Saint-Maximin (48) the only players to record more progressive carries of at least 10m. The one other City player with more than 34 is Aymeric Laporte.

Additionally, those carries have led to 11 goalscoring opportunities, with three ending in a shot by Grealish or eight leading to a key pass. Again, only five have been more effective with their end product when running with the ball.

To come into the champions' team and instantly become such an influence is an impressive feat in itself.

More than meets the eye

Of course, some might be tempted to point towards Grealish's rather modest return of two goal involvements (one goal, one assist) in six Premier League appearances this term, but that would be too reductive.

Having a solitary assist, for example, certainly doesn't tell the whole story. After all, his 2.9 chances created per 90 minutes is second only to Bruno Fernandes (3.0) in the league, while Grealish's 0.26 expected assists (xA) each game is bettered by just five players.

It's also worth pointing out his xA per 90 is greater than his assists per 90 (0.17), suggesting he's actually being let down by the finishing of his team-mates.

As for his goalscoring efforts, we all know Grealish is capable of the spectacular but his shot selection at City has seemingly been focused on ensuring maximum threat to the goalkeeper, with all but one coming from inside the box. With his shots averaging 0.12 xG as opposed to 0.09 last season, there's every reason to expect greater long-term results.

Furthermore, there is evidence to support the idea Grealish is slightly more involved in general build-up play as well, his open-play sequence involvement going up from 43.7 per 90 to 47.8 – though City do see more of the ball, so it is probably too soon to make any meaningful conclusions from that.

Nevertheless, it is another example of how Grealish has quickly become a key influencer in the City team. While those early reports of him literally playing a central role may not have quite come to fruition, he has at least in a figurative sense, with Rodri the sole City player involved in more sequences (53.8) each game than him.

It's already been a hectic period for City, given they've faced Chelsea and PSG in less than a week, and it will ramp up again with another big test in their attempts to become early runaway leaders when they face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

The following day will be exactly a year on from Grealish's devastating display in Villa's 7-2 win over the Reds, during which he had a hand in five goals (three assists, two goals), a haul that has only ever been bettered twice in a single Premier League match.

While no one will be expecting quite an astonishing performance this time, it's at least evidence of what Grealish is capable of if Liverpool cannot keep him under wraps.

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