Pep Guardiola acknowledged ‘special’ Phil Foden for supplying the quality that wreck Atletico Madrid’s serious resistance in the Champions League quarter-final.

He stepped off the bench to give the killer pass for Kevin De Bruyne’s winner, providing the City the edge for next week’s return leg.

However Guardiola involved Grealish – part of a triple substitution apace with Foden and Gabriel Jesus – in his acknowledgement of how the game changes once his attacking choices were shuffled.

Foden gave City pricking and threat wide on the right, whilst Grealish not only enticed Atletico into 2 yellow card offences but also gave them control as the visitors sought to struggle their way back into the match.

City took the lead 2 minutes following Guardiola’s triple substitution, as Foden glided a pass down the side of the defence and De Bruyne placed it in the far corner. That elated Guardiola, who tossed a water bottle at the ground in his celebration.

He stated afterwards: “He (Foden) has a special quality. His reception is always forward, his space in the first step is massive, he has the composure to make an assist for Kevin.”

“Jack for the control of the game to give continuity. They did it and they were brilliant. We spoke many times – this competition is not just 11 players.”

Guardiola made the point, while his side are doing great without a renowned striker, the lack of one has urged him to use players who are better in other roles. He stated, “The only player that is proper there is Gabriel.”

“Bernardo moves better in the wide outsides and Phil as well. But in that game we need a striker because they are so deep. They defend so well, so compact and so deep and we need the talent like Phil has shown in small spaces and we were patient because you have to be in these kind of teams.”

“They can punish you on the counter-attack because they are top top players. They have so well, if you are not attacking in the right way they punish you.”

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