Pep Guardiola says XI vs Newcastle was picked on 'behaviour, not rotation'
Grealish and Foden were both unused substitutes on Sunday
Pep Guardiola has revealed that his starting XI against Newcastle United at the weekend was picked on 'behaviour', as opposed to standard squad rotation.
Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and John Stones all dropped to the bench for Sunday’s 4-0 win at St James’ Park, with Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling replacing them in the starting line-up.
Defender Stones replaced Ruben Dias in the second-half, but Foden and Grealish were unused substitutes with Fernandinho and youngster Cole Palmer being brought on instead.
Guardiola has since explained that his team selection was based on 'behaviour, not rotation'.
When asked to explain his line-up, Guardiola told BBC Radio 5 Live: "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 focused all the time because of distractions at Christmas time and everything that happens - you have to still be focused."
Pep Guardiola on changes vs Newcastle: “Not rotation. I decided this team because they deserved to play, these guys, not the others. At Christmas, I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch. When off the pitch is not proper, they are not going to play..."
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) December 20, 2021
City cruised to a comfortable victory against the Magpies thanks to goals from Dias, Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.
The victory - which was their 34th in the league in 2021 - took them three points clear of title rivals Liverpool, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Tottenham.
After setting a new record for the most top-flight wins by a team in a calendar year, Guardiola says it 'shows the consistency' City have as a team.
He added: "Records show the consistency we have as a team, it is not winning titles or finals, but it is winning and winning," Guardiola said after the match.
"Records are there to be broken and we are happy to have them.
"I prefer to win titles, but when you break a record from a long time ago, in a calendar year, the most victories, you are consistent.
“You win games and this is the most precious value this team has."
The Citizens host Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City in their next match on Boxing Day, hoping to increase their lead at the top of the Premier League table.