Pep Guardiola answers Man City fans’ criticism over Liverpool team selection
Pep Guardiola has no regrets over his team selection for the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool on Saturday. Many Manchester City fans took to social media to express their disappointment that the Blues were under-strength for the game, which they lost 3-2 to end dreams of a Treble.
Guardiola stuck to his usual policy of fielding his reserve keeper by picking Zack Steffen instead of Ederson, even though Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp abandoned his similar policy to choose Alisson and not Caoimhin Kelleher. He also left Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Ruben Dias and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench – the latter two both had injury problems – after a gruelling week that had brought a league draw with the same opposition and a bruising goalless draw at Atletico Madrid.
Guardiola said he had no issues with the supporters’ criticism and defended their right to hold those views, but he denied that he got the team selection wrong: “I understand the opinions of my fans. My selection was for many reasons.
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“They were ready. Kevin wasn’t ready, Gundogan wasn’t ready. I understand the questions, I was in the hotel in Madrid and in London, I spoke with my doctors and physios.”
He added that the decisions were all taken after extensive consultation with his medical staff, and after viewing the fitness stats between the trip to Madrid and the semi with Liverpool. Guardiola also denied that the issue was tiredness, saying City’s second-half fightback from 3-0 down to almost taking the game into extra time was proof of such.
“We listened and took the decisions,” he said. “We have a lot of info you don’t have. If we were tired we wouldn’t run in the second half. For many games, I ask a lot of my staff for the situations and moods of players. After I take the decisions.”
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