Pep Guardiola insists Man City players knew he made the best selection to win Chelsea

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The manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has insisted that his players knew that he made the right team selection ahead of the UEFA Champions League final between the club and Chelsea on Saturday, May 29.

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz scored the only goal in the game in the 42nd minute to stop Manchester City from winning their first UEFA Champions League title in the club’s history.

After the game, the Spanish tactician who many believe is one of the greatest football managers of all time, was criticized for “overthinking” ahead of the Champions League final.

According to most of his critics, Pep Guardiola tried to be too clever in the game by deciding to play against Chelsea without a natural striker. Instead, he decided to play with a false 9 in the person of Kevin de Bruyne.

His critics believe that the tactics of keeping his natural striker like Sergio Aguero, and Gabriel Jesus on the bench when he is playing against a defensive-minded team like Chelsea backfired against him.

In the second half, Pep Guardiola who has won two Champions League titles for FC Barcelona gave his critics more points to support their argument against his team selection. This happened when Kevin de Bruyne was injured and had to bring in Gabriel Jesus to replace him in the 59th minute. Afterward, Fernandinho was introduced into the game who is a more natural holding midfielder than Ilkay Gundogan which Guardiola started the game with.

Though the new changes could not break Chelsea’s defense, the game changed drastically in favor of Manchester City as Chelsea were condemned to defend for the rest of the game.

Pep Guardiola of Manchester City after the Champions League final on May 29.
Pep Guardiola of Manchester City after the Champions League final on May 29.

At the end of the night, Pep Guardiola failed to win the UEFA Champions League title for Manchester City for the fifth season. Aside from that, he suffered third consecutive defeat at the hands of Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea in the 2020-2021 season.

During the post-match press conference, Pep Guardiola stressed that he did his best to win the game and insisted that Gundogan had a good game.

He said: “I did my best in the selection. I made the best selection to win the game, the players know it.

“I think Gundogan played well. We missed a little in the first half to break the lines, but in the second half, it was much better. It was a tight game but we had enormous chances.”

On Kevin de Bruyne’s injury, Pep Guardiola said: “I don’t know about the pain he has in his face, I didn’t see him or speak to the doctor. But hopefully, it will not be a big problem.”