Guardiola DEFENDS lack of substitutions in Leipzig draw

Pep Guardiola DEFENDS his decision to not make any substitutions during 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig, with Phil Foden is left on the bench… as Man City boss insists he was ‘really pleased’ with their performance in Germany

  • Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to not make changes on Wednesday
  • The Premier League team were held to a 1-1 draw with German side RB Leipzig  
  • Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez and Rico Lewis all watched on from the City bench 

Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to not make any changes during Man City’s draw with RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

The Premier League champions were held to a 1-1 draw with the Bundesliga side after Josko Gvardiol cancelled out Riyad Mahrez’s first-half strike for the visitors.

A plethora of Man City’s stars – including Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez – watched from the bench as Guardiola opted against a substitution and the coach later explained his reasoning for doing so. 

According to the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola said: ‘I have the opportunity to have five substitutions, I am the manager I apply and take it if I want.

‘It doesn’t mean if I have the substitutions I have to do the substitutions. I’m a so good manager to decide what I have to do or not.’

Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to not make substitutions against RB Leipzig

Man City’s Phil Foden (middle) and Julian Alvarez (right) were left on the bench for the game

The Spanish manager hinted that he was close to bringing England star Foden into the match after Gvardiol’s second-half equaliser but opted against doing so. 

He explained: ‘I was really pleased with what I was seeing. With Phil to have this talent to do this, after the goal I thought immediately to bring Phil but we took the game in our hands.’

The visiting side had been on the back-foot in the early stages of the second-half before Leipzig’s pressure paid off with a goal – but City quickly regained control. 

Guardiola said: ‘With this control. Because they play with six upfront. Two fullbacks as wingers, four players incredible runners. 

‘Those positions you need control. That’s why the players we had, Gundogan, Riyad [Mahrez], you need extra passes.’

‘Especially in the first leg, maybe second leg I decide to be crazy and play nine strikers and make up and downs. In this game I felt, I’ve been in this country and I need this type of control. 

‘Up and downs, it’s open, one or two actions from Gundo to give the ball to Erling they block it. These situations, German teams are better than us.’ 

Despite being held to a draw with their German counterparts, Guardiola’s side were the only English team not to lose their last-16 first-leg tie – after Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool all fell to defeats.

Guardiola and his staff watch on as the English side are held to a 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig

Argentinian striker Julian Alvarez has struggled to earn a starting place over Erling Haaland

The City boss also insisted he always knew that coming to the Bundesliga high-fliers would be a tricky away match and predicted that the tie would remain in the balance ahead of the second leg at the Etihad in three weeks’ time.

Explaining the chances City conceded in the second half, he said: ‘They made a step forward and we spoke at half-time. I said, “Forget about our domination, this is not going to happen in the second half, the manager and the fans will not accept it”.

‘And our press intensity was not precise like the first half. We don’t have the team to compete with them in the transitions, they are better than us, they are faster and quicker.’

Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol scored the all-important equaliser for Leipzig on the night

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