Pep Guardiola makes big Man City team selection admission vs Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola says he will have to play at least one player out of position to solve his defensive problems in tomorrow night’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid. The Manchester City boss will give John Stones and Kyle Walker until tomorrow morning to prove their fitness, with the suspension of Joao Cancelo meaning they could be left without any senior players who have played right back.
Walker is almost certainly not fit, having not trained since twisting his ankle in the quarter-final draw at Atletico Madrid which saw them into the last four, but Stones may be asked to take a risk on his own injury problem, despite missing the last game against Watford.
Cancelo will be available for the second leg but misses the home game after picking up a yellow card at the Wanda Metropolitano. That means Stones is next in line to step into that role, but if the England man is not ready, Guardiola has a big decision to take – he threw Gabriel Jesus’ name into the ring on Saturday, although that may have been a joke, and he could also switch one of his left-sided defenders, Oleks Zinchenko or Nathan Ake, to the right-hand side.
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All of the players will be given every chance to prove their fitness and the decision will not be taken until the morning of the match. Guardiola said: “We have a training session today and see how the players are.
“Tonight, tomorrow, we decide the lineup. I wait for the training session to see how they feel. I’m sure players will play in positions they aren’t used but they will do their best.”
Asked specifically about Stones and Walker, he said: “They are doubts, they didn’t train for the last week to ten days and John since Brighton. We’ll see how they feel, we’ll speak to them tomorrow and then make the decision.”
City had defensive problems two years ago when they beat Real 2-1 in both legs, with Fernandinho stepping in at centre back for the second leg at the Etihad. Guardiola says it is important not to concede
The two games against Sporting, first game against Atletico we played to not concede. The second leg we couldn’t have conceded, they were better. We have to defend well, Benzema scores a lot of goals in his career, fantastic player, we defend well, we will have to defend and create chances to score
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