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Man City Boss Guardiola Defends ‘Brave’ Squad Selection

  • 3 min read

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola sent a rebuttal to those who believe he overthinks his decisions after winger Bernardo Silva was played at left back against Arsenal on Wednesday.

Guardiola deployed the Portugal international in defence and he was tormented by Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka in the clash between the Premier League’s top two, however, City did eventually win the game 3-1.

But Guardiola defended his decision making, saying that he is “not naive” and that his choices are guided by gut instincts.

“If it works I am brave, if it doesn’t work then I’m overthinking,” he told reporters ahead of Sunday’s game away to Nottingham Forest.

“When I take a decision I have to believe in it. I cannot go to sleep or wake up in the morning and have something inside of me and visualise the opponent.

“I take my job incredibly seriously. I’m not naive, even one second of my job. I never took, in all my career, in 14 years, a decision like ‘I’m going to show something’. I have to feel it in my gut, in my stomach, like I feel in this way I have to do something to control the team better.

“When I think about if we have to put a left back completely on Saka, I would not (have) put Bernardo Silva there. I put Bernardo there because I figured out in the game that I wanted to control them, I wanted to control Arsenal, I want to dominate. I think with Bernardo we are able to do it.”

City now lead the Premier League standings with 51 points from 23 games and few would bet against them going on to claim a third successive title.

Some pundits in the British media have accused Guardiola of over-complicating his line-ups occasionally in crucial games and highlight this as a reason for the Spaniard never having led City to a Champions League crown in his six years at the club.

However, the manager suggested his decisions on squad selection were more intuitive and sensitive than being part of some convoluted tactical plan.

He added: “I have to do what I feel. I see many things, I see the training session, the personal issues of the players, they have problems at home, they are maybe satisfied because of the win or they are maybe sad because they don’t play. These are always part of my decision when I chose the selection.

“The toughest moment of my job is when I have to say ‘today we will have to play this starting 11’, this is the worst.”