Why Pep Guardiola rotated his Man City squad – and why he was right – The Athletic

“We have no alternative,” Pep Guardiola said of his Manchester City squad ahead of Saturday’s kick-off against Liverpool. “The team we have chosen is fantastic. There is no alternative, we have injuries. We have incredibly mentally and physically demanding games…there’s no other way to do it.”

And surely anyone who watched City in the Atletico Madrid bear pit on Wednesday night as they clawed their way to promotion to the Champions League would have recognized a group of players on their last legs?

Even without special access to the sports science data, it must have been clear that the same core of players simply wouldn’t be able to pull themselves together – or risk injury – for the fourth game of the grueling series against Atletico and Liverpool?

The way City performed in the first half will sting. By their standards, they were terrible. “In the first half we were so passive, we were afraid to support people,” admitted Guardiola.

They were indeed miles from the pace set by a wild Liverpool side and a fatal error by Zack Steffen only served to add to the sense of chaos engulfing the City players, which was punctuated by a third goal was reinforced at half-time. Time. Why Pep Guardiola rotated his Man City squad – and why he was right – The Athletic

Olly Dawes

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