Pep Guardiola praised Phil Foden’s work ethic after the England forward’s double strike helped Manchester City reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Foden scored twice – once in each half – to put the visitors in command against Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City before the fit-again Kevin De Bruyne’s superb late strike sealed a 3-0 victory at Ashton Gate.
The 22-year-old has now scored a dozen times during a campaign in which he has not always been in Guardiola’s starting XI.
“I said last week that we don’t have any doubts about Phil,” said Guardiola.
“The impact of Phil since he has arrived has been flabbergasting. He has been awesome, getting better and better.
“He has struggled a little bit with the ankle, but he doesn’t complain. He wants to train, he wants to play, play with problems.
“But it’s not about the goal he scored in the last game (at Bournemouth), or the two goals he scored today. It’s about how aggressive he is and how he does things.
“He has done it again, his work ethic, the way he trained. Every single action is 100 per cent and at the end it will pay off.”
The Premier League champions were made to work hard for their victory even after Foden dispatched Riyad Mahrez’s seventh-minute cross before a capacity 25,713 crowd.
Bristol City, who had gone 12 games unbeaten, went close through Alex Scott and Sam Bell and might have had a penalty when Mark Sykes appeared to be bundled over by Rico Lewis.
But referee Andre Marriner was unmoved and VAR was not in operation for the incident to be reviewed.
Guardiola said: “We are delighted, we started really well. We felt how dangerous they are in the transitions and Scott is a really good player, the wingers as well.
“The second half was much better from minute one. At 1-0 everything is open, but we scored the second and third and I’m happy because this competition is so nice.
“We won one and reached three semi-finals when we didn’t perform well.
“Mainly because it was three days after away games in the Champions League and we were exhausted, hopefully this season we can go through in better condition and reach another final of the FA Cup.”
On the first-half penalty incident, when Bristol City trailed 1-0, Robins boss Nigel Pearson said: “I joked with the fourth official and the assistant referee that they, Premier League players, are a protected species.
“But I’m being facetious. It was an event in the game that didn’t go our way and I’m disappointed with the scoreline because I thought the game was tighter than that.
“The most important thing for us we were true to ourselves and tried to play our own way.
“We held our own for long periods of the game, but the quality shone through at the end.
“But we gave them a good game and they knew they were in a game. It shows how far we’ve come and we do have an identity now that is clear.”