Grealish has not played for City for a month, having been benched for the Manchester derby and then injured on duty in England which excluded him from the previous three games.
His return to Aston Villa did not come without boos and whistles from a crowd still hurt by his departure, and he entered the game with a hostile reception with three minutes plus time to play as the Guardiola’s side were trying to see their 2-1 lead. . But the £ 100million man did exactly as he was told, keeping the ball high on the pitch to preserve the lead and neutralize any remaining threats from his former club.
Guardiola was delighted with the cameo, but also took the time to praise Sterling for putting City in control of the game.
“He gave us what we needed. He was perfect, ”Guardiola said of Grealish. “We talked about keeping the ball in play, touching, quality. Every time he has touched the ball, he keeps it. This is what we need.
“Today I would like to praise one player in particular: Raheem Sterling. He played the best game in a long time. He was a threat to us and deserves all my compliments because he was sensational. “