Pep Guardiola was in a pragmatic mood following Manchester City’s Champions League final defeat to Chelsea, but was it one tinker too many by the City boss?

Having seen his side sweep aside many challengers both in Europe and on their way to the Premier League title, Guardiola sprung a surprise with his team selection in Porto.

He left out captain Fernandinho and fellow holding midfielder Rodri from his starting line-up and instead chose to play the more attack-minded Bernardo Silva alongside Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan.

The outcome was that City never really managed to get a grip on midfield throughout the game, their defence was exposed while their attack was also hampered as they finished the game on the wrong end of 1-0 defeat having managed just a single shot on target in 97 minutes.

Guardiola has been known to adjust his team selection to try and outfox his opponents.

Asked why he made the changes he did for this game, he replied: “I did the best in the selection.

Against Lyon [in 2020] like it was against PSG, Dortmund, I tried the selection the best to win the game. The players know it, I think Ilkay Gundogan played good, we were exceptional.

But was it the wrong decision? Or did Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel simply have the measure of him?

I think [tinkering too much] will be levelled at him because he changed the way he had played all season,” former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said.

He has always had Rodri or Fernandinho in there but he changed it. We know tactically he tinkers, he might have seen a weakness in there but Thomas Tuchel nullified any threat.

We saw Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling played really wide, they’ve not really done that this season and maybe that is something City did wrong.


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