PEP GUARDIOLA waited in the tunnel to speak personally with Lyon starlet Houssem Aouar after his performance in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City last night.
The Frenchman, 20, did his reputation no damage at all alongside fellow young talent Tanguy Ndombele in midfield.
Reuters6 Pep Guardiola waited in the tunnel to congratulate Houssem Aouar after last night's game
Reuters6 Aouar impressed alongside fellow midfielder Tanguy Ndombele against Manchester City
The result saw Manchester City qualify for the knockout stages and Lyon know a draw at home to Shakhtar in the final group game would be enough to see them join the Premier League champions.
And although Guardiola reportedly had a bid rejected for Ndombele in the summer, it was Aouar's praises he was singing last night – and understandably so as he dictated in midfield with his 62 passes and five tackles.
The Spaniard stopped the midfielder in the tunnel to show his appreciation of the performance – he was likened to Barcelona great Xavi – before assistant coach Mikel Arteta also lauded the French ace.
Manchester City boss Guardiola told the press: "Houssem Aouar is a very good player, he is incredible.
Houssem Aouar 2018/19 (all competitions)
- Games: 19
- Minutes: 1527
- Goals: 5
- Assists: 4
- Shots: 44
- Chances created: 25
- Dribbles completed: 30
- Passes: 847
- Tackles: 33
- Interceptions: 16
AFP or licensors6 The French midfielder has been in fine form this season, already notching up five goals and four assists
Reuters6 His performance was reminiscent of Xavi in the middle of the park
"We talk a lot about Ndombele but Aouar is also excellent. He’s always very calm with the ball at his feet, with an excellent technical quality.
"Lyon really has a very good team. There are young people full of quality and I think the team is in place tactically, I think we can congratulate them, we have had absences tonight, but we have to congratulate them."
It is not the first time Guardiola has spoken to opposition players, whether that be to praise their game or simply to say something personal.
But could he be trying to make a good impression ahead of a potential move next year?
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EPA6 Liverpool and Chelsea are both understood to be keen on making a move for Aouar
EPA6 Guardiola praised the starlet for being "very calm with the ball at his feet" and his "excellent technical quality"
Liverpool and Chelsea have been linked with both Aouar and his team-mate Nabil Fekir.
It is believed Maurizio Sarri wants to add a midfielder capable of running into the box from deep to help his Blues side polish off more attempts on goal.
But as the three sides go head-to-head to win the Premier League this season, Guardiola might be hoping his message last night will help but City in pole position.