The Spanish tactician’s decision of keeping Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench in the first leg until the last minute did not pay off…
The star-studded Cityzens were considered as favourites to progress to the semifinal when the draw took place. But Mauricio Pochettino’s men silenced the experts by winning the first leg at their home via a Heung-min Son strike.
The Spurs definitely punched above their weight considering they had to play without their star player Harry Kane for more than 40 minutes of the match. The English captain had to leave the field with an injury after a clash with Fernandinho in the 58th minute.
While no one can take away the credit from Tottenham for the result in the first leg, one cannot look away from the fact that Pep Guardiola was equally culpable.
Guardiola unnecessarily experimented with the starting XI in such an important clash. Two of the finest players of this Manchester City side, Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne, were not included in the playing XI against Spurs.
The Spanish coach decided to trust Riyad Mahrez in the left wide forward’s role ahead of Sane and the former Leicester City player ridiculously failed. Mahrez could hardly bring any significant impact on the game and had a below par outing which ultimately impacted the outcome of the game.
In the midfield, the former FC Barcelona coach decided to field two holding midfielders and deployed David Silva in the attacking midfield. The most charismatic midfielder in the City squad, Kevin De Bruyne, was kept on the bench in such an important match until the 88th minute.
Guardiola must unleash the two most lethal players of his team De Bruyne and Sane in the second leg in order to stage a come back and advance to the semifinal.
Article continues below
The trio of Sane, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling with Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings behind them could be the answer or City’s quest to unlock a sturdy Tottenahm defence.