Pep Guardiola insinuated he could go “crazy” and start nine strikers in Manchester City’s next meeting with RB Leipzig after his side were held to a 1-1 draw in Germany
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to hold an on-pitch debriefing following Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig in the Champions League – and insinuated that he could go “crazy” with his tactics and field nine strikers in the next month. Round of 16 second leg.
The Premier League champions were dominant in the first half and looked set for a comfortable victory after Riyad Mahrez put them ahead in the 27th minute. But highly rated Josko Gvardiol scored from a 70th-minute corner to equalize for the Bundesliga outfit, who travel to the Etihad Stadium on equal terms with Guardiola’s side.
Guardiola did not make any substitutions during the game – and later insisted he may have been bolder with his tactics when the teams meet again on March 14.
“I’m very happy with what I saw,” said Guardiola after being asked about the lack of personnel changes. “So I thought, of course with Phil [Foden] to add his talent to this [game] after we conceded, but immediately we took the game [back] into our hands.
“Because they [RB Leipzig] play with six up front with incredible runners. In that position, with the way they play, you have to have a lot of control. The players we have, have the extra pass we need especially in the first leg.
“Maybe in the second leg I will decide to go crazy and play with nine strikers. But in this game, I feel that in this country [Germany] my people have analyzed Leipzig and I need this kind of control.”
Guardiola raised eyebrows at the end of the game when he engaged his players in a post-match huddle on the pitch – a moment BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand has scrutinized
Ferdinand compared Guardiola to former Hull City manager Phil Brown, who famously gave the team a half-time talk on the pitch during the Tigers’ 5-1 Premier League defeat at the Etihad on Boxing Day in 2008.
He told BT Sport: “He’s doing a debriefing on the pitch, you don’t really see this. Phil Brown was the last person you saw doing that at Hull City!”
But Guardiola stood by his decision and explained that he decided to speak to his players immediately after noticing any disappointment.
When asked about the incident, the head of the City added: “Because they put their heads down. I said ‘why is your head down? Heads, that’s very good, the game you’re playing’. People don’t like that, it doesn’t matter. You play the game you should be playing .”