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Pep Guardiola makes huge Phil Foden claim after Manchester derby masterclass

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Football

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Pep Guardiola described Phil Foden as “world class” and the player of the season after the winger scored a match-winning double in the Manchester derby.

Manchester City were trailing to a Marcus Rashford goal before Foden struck twice, to take his tally to 18 goals for the campaign, in a 3-1 victory.

It led Guardiola to say the 23-year-old will become a legend, stating: “Winning games is when you become a world-class player. Everyone can play good but you have to win games and he wins games. What can I say?

“He loves football. He lives to play. There are people who like to play. He loves to play football. He will already be a legendary player because in a short age, the games played, the minutes, the goals scored, the titles won and he is from the home and that is why the connection with the fans is unbelievable. He always scores goals but now he scores goals to win games. When you do this, you reach another level as a player.

“He is the player of the season, with all the respect for incredible players but no one has been so decisive for us as him this season.”

Foden smashed home two superb goals in the derby

(Getty Images)

United manager Erik ten Hag, whose side led thanks to Rashford’s eighth-minute thunderbolt, claimed that the neighbours were only separated by small margins.

He argued that Rashford was fouled by Kyle Walker just before Foden’s equaliser – and got a yellow card for dissent after throwing a water bottle in frustration – and felt United could have gone back ahead just before the England international scored his second goal.

“On another day we could have won this – small margins,” he said. “It’s a defining moment in the game, in the counter-attack they scored. It was soft, but when you are in a full sprint you lose your rhythm that is why he went down. They run and Rashy confirmed to me there was contact. I saw it back.

“For the 2-1 [Alejandro] Garnacho was in a break. We were really close to getting a win or at least a draw here.”

Ten Hag’s United are now 11 points behind Aston Villa, who are in fourth, but he said they retain hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.

He added: “Fifth spot can also be a Champions League spot so we have to go for it and win our games.”

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