Man City: Pep Guardiola explains why Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne dropped vs Aston Villa

Rest: Erling Haaland (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)
Rest: Erling Haaland (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has explained why he dropped star duo Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne for Wednesday's Premier League home win over Aston Villa.

The pair were surprise absentees from the starting line-up at the Etihad Stadium, with Villa one of the tougher fixtures of the champions' run-in, but a Phil Foden hat-trick made sure City beat a top-five team for the first time this season.

City find themselves in a fierce three-way title race as they look to hold off the challenge of leaders Liverpool and Arsenal. The Gunners beat Luton to move back tot eh top of the table, with Liverpool hosting Sheffield United on Thursday. City on Saturday travel to London to face Crystal Palace.

When asked on TNT Sports why Haaland and De Bruyne were named as substitutes, Guardiola said: "In two days we have another game (sic).

"I think all the teams at the top have a big squad and of course we have it and that is the position today we decide for the line-up."

Speaking after the 4-1 win, Guardiola said: "They could play and rest other players. We put the players out to win it not just to rest players.

“We need fresh legs and we only played three days ago against Arsenal. We needed it because of the schedule so we needed the rest."