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Pep Guardiola explains surprise Man City tactical change

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City
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After Manchester City’s Champions League final defeat to Chelsea, Pep Guardiola defended his surprise change in tactics.

Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to play without a natural holding midfielder in Saturday’s Champions League final.

The Manchester City boss made a critical tweak to his line-up by omitting Fernandinho and Rodri in favor of inserting Ilkay Gundogan into a deep-lying midfield role.

Raheem Sterling also made a surprise start, having failed to make the line-up in a Champions League match since a first-leg win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the last-16 stage.

Guardiola made it clear from the start he felt an attacking-minded approach was needed to win the final.

The Catalan’s gamble, however, didn’t pay off. City struggled to hit top form in the final and fell to a 1-0 defeat thanks to a Kai Havertz first-half goal.

“I decided the decision, to have quality players,” said Guardiola as per the Independent. “Gundogan played many years in this position.

“To have speed, to find the small players, the quality, the brilliant players, inside, in the middle, and between the lines. This was the decision.”

He added: “I tried the best selection to win the game. The players know it. I think Gundogan played good.

“We missed a little bit to break the lines in the first half. The second half was much better. It was a tight game.”

Saturday’s defeat in Porto means City remain without a Champions League title.

It’s still been an impressive season though, with another Premier League trophy and EFL Cup added to the club’s haul. The Citizens will hope to go one better for next season by finally bagging glory in Europe.