Guardiola ‘stole the Champions League’ from City fans – Matthaus

Date published: Tuesday 1st June 2021 1:34 - Joe Williams

Pep Guardiola Manchester City

Pep Guardiola “stole the Champions League” from Manchester City and the club’s fans, according to Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthaus.

City boss Guardiola was forced to defend his surprise selection call by opting not to field a defensive midfielder in Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Porto.

Ilkay Gundogan featured in a deep role, with Fernandinho and Rodri overlooked in what proved a costly roll of the dice.

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Guardiola insisted he had made the best possible call on the night at the Estadio do Dragao, but his wait for a personal third Champions League crown will now run into 11 years.

And former Germany international Matthaus was particularly critical of Guardiola and his team selection.

“With his line-up he stole the Champions League from the club and the fans and he has to rightly listen to the harsh criticism from all sides,” Matthaus told Sky Germany.

“I am sure that there will be internal discussions about whether to part with him. The players will doubt him since that final.

“He had to try something again, present an imaginary ingenuity at the worst possible moment and totally deserved to lose.

“How can you play without a defensive midfielder in the most important game in club history, who was on the pitch in almost every game of the season, who ensures the balance, who gives everyone involved the necessary security?

“Why did he leave Rodri and/or Fernandinho out, start six attacking players and also play without a centre-forward?”

Meanwhile, former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri thinks Guardiola will soon be a manager of an Italian club.

Ranieri told Gazzetta dello Sport: “We will be back, because I see signs of growth that cannot be obscured by the premature elimination of Italian teams.

“A Serie A that sees the return of [Jose] Mourinho, of [Massimiliano] Allegri and perhaps also [Maurizio] Sarri, will certainly increase the visibility of our entire movement.

“Too bad for [Antonio] Conte, who has left Inter, but I’m convinced Guardiola will sooner or later come to coach in Italy too.

“There’s one thing we must do as soon as possible, however. We must increase the pace of the game. If we don’t do it, it’s difficult to be competitive.”


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