Guardiola Defends Lack of Substitutions in a Match Against Leipzig
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 324
In the first leg of the round of 16 in the Champions League between Red Bull Leipzig and Manchester City, the match ended in a 1-1 draw, but what grabbed the attention of many was the fact that Manchester City's coach, Pep Guardiola, didn't make a single substitution.
This is an unusual situation, especially considering that five substitutions are allowed at this level of competition.
A Tale of Two Halves
The match was a tale of two halves, with the visitors dominating the first half, while the home team was the better opponent in the second half and deservedly earned a draw.
Guardiola Addresses Lack of Substitutions
Journalists were eager to ask Guardiola about his decision not to make any substitutions after the match. The Spanish expert responded somewhat irritatedly: “I had the opportunity to make five substitutions, but that doesn’t mean I have to make them.
I was very pleased with what I was seeing on the field. I analyzed Leipzig with my team and I felt that we needed to maintain control, as they play with six forwards”. Guardiola also acknowledged that Leipzig was the better team in terms of transitions, speed, and quickness.
He stated: “We don’t have the team to compete with them in transitions. They are better than us, they are faster and quicker. In these situations, German teams are better than us. We had to have a lot of control. Maybe in the second leg, I will decide to be crazy and play with nine strikers”.
"Delighted" with Result
Despite the outcome, Guardiola claimed that he was 'delighted' with the result and explained why he called his players for a team huddle at full-time: “Their heads were down, and I asked them, ‘Why are your heads down?’ That was really good.
They played the game they should play. We had four games in 10 days, and then we come here and fly to Bournemouth the day after tomorrow. I put all of this into perspective, and I am so delighted with the game we played. It’s the Champions League, a very demanding competition”.
Guardiola will rally his team for the second leg of the tie against Leipzig on March 14th. Before that, Manchester City will shift their focus to the Premier League as they face Bournemouth on Saturday.