Pep’s Bench At Burnley Was First Big Mistake At Man City This Season

It’s always difficult to be critical of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, the Spaniard has been successful everywhere he’s been so far as a manager and it looks a certainty that he’ll guide the Citizens to another Premier League title this year.

It could be a really special season for City as they’re still fighting in all four major competitions (League, League Cup, FA Cup & The Champions League).

You can see my dilemma as I believe I have to criticise Pep and his recent team selection against Burnley in their weekend draw at Turf Moor. Guardiola only named six players on his bench, instead of the normal seven.

People state that it was Pep making a statement to his board after missing out on Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez in the January transfer window and others believe he was sending out a message about how aggressive tackles have been against his players. While the manager himself has stated he had no other options available to him.

Whatever the reason, I just don’t buy it.

The owners have forked out an absolute fortune and could be thinking that the club doesn’t need such a distraction when things are going well. They’ll certainly argue that they have more than backed their manager.

Are the officials or The FA going to protect City more because Guardiola didn’t name a full compliment of substitutes? I doubt it. If anything other teams might think about going in harder more often to get under the skin of City’s squad.

Pep said that his younger squad had played a game just the day before and that’s why they weren’t available to him.

Now Steven Gerrard made a great point about the Elite Development Squad (EDS) when he discussed Pep’s selection on BT Sport:

“The under 23’s would have had five substitutions and you can only use three of them, so two of them would have been unused,”

“So he could have used one of them. Or he could have used one of the subs that came on and hasn’t played a full game.”

Having looked at City’s last EDS game, they only made two subs in their loss to Swansea City. That meant that three players remained on the bench and would’ve been fresh enough to sit on the bench the next day. They also played in a home fixture, so no travelling issues to worry about.

For a youngster to be sitting on the subs bench for a Premier League fixture would’ve done their confidence no harm whatsoever and Pep would have known he’d not need to play them in the match. The whole academy would have received another big boost.

The Man City gaffer has already showed us that he has no issues with using young talents, so it just seems weird that he wouldn’t give a young footballer the experience of being so close to the first team.

You also have to factor in the fact that City have decided to loan at least nine player out, who’ve had at least tasted first team football at the Eithad. So has Pep Guardiola loaned out too many players?

Other teams and their fans won’t feel sorry because Man City have a few injuries. They are seen as the rich boys that always buy their way out of trouble.

Now to be honest, in all reality it was a very small mistake. Manchester City’s owners and supporters won’t argue with the boss as they know what they’ve got and that’s probably the best manager in the world. They know he’s building a legacy and they’ll forgive, or probably ignore, any slight issues like the one on Saturday.

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