City manager Guardiola is gaining a reputation for tinkering with his side constantly – and this weekend comes up against Watford and Claudio Ranieri, the original Tinkerman
Pep Guardiola has admitted to making crazy team selection decisions – to keep his Manchester City players on their toes.
Guardiola acknowledged some of his team selections can shock his players and fans, but said he does so because it keeps his squad sharp.
Like Ranieri, who earned the nickname in charge at Chelsea, Guardiola is constantly changes his personnel, but said he does it for a specific reason.
“In that moment, where I think I could’ve taken another decision, I’m not sure what would’ve happened,” said Guardiola. “Nobody knows.
“I don’t go home and say ‘what would have happened if I took another decision?’
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“If I take this holding midfielder and this holding midfielder, would we have won? Who knows? I don’t know.
“I would love to admit, when I make a mistake, that I should play another player, but I cannot be sure.
“The decisions I make are for many reasons and always with intention, that’s for sure.
“I never put a team on the field that’s not the best I think for many reasons.
“Sometimes you have a type of line-up – this player has to play. I know this player’s good but at that moment, is he better than the other one?
“Sometimes, no. And the other one, they feel they are better for many reasons, and this player for everyone maybe has not as much quality as the other one, but it’s not about that.
“Right now, there are many reasons I see every day, that’s why I take the decisions, that’s all.”
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One player Guardiola does not have to keep on his toes is England midfielder Phil Foden, who is desperate to play after missing the last three games.
Foden missed two games through injury and was an unused sub in City’s midweek 2-1 win at Aston Villa, but is ready to play through the pain barrier if required.
“He’s a guy who, in the experience we have together, he holds the pain,” said Guardiola. “He has pain but it doesn’t matter – ‘I play, I play’.
“When he has discomfort and says he doesn’t feel good, it’s because he doesn’t feel good. This is what happened.
“It’s not a big injury, in the ankle, but that’s why he couldn’t play against PSG in the next games.
“It was just discomfort, a little bit. But he’s a guy who tolerates really well.
“Normally, when you train with pain, it’s impossible to wake up in the morning and be clean with everything, but he’s a guy where it’s not a problem.
“He loves playing football too much. Even in a bad situation, he wants to play and play, and not all of them are like this.”