CHRIS SUTTON: Benching Rodri and Fernandinho while deciding to bring Sergio Aguero on too late in the final will go down as Pep Guardiola’s two biggest Champions League mistakes
- Manchester City were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the Champions League final
- Pep Guardiola decided to start the game without either Fernandinho or Rodri
- One of Fernandinho or Rodri had started in 59 of City’s 60 games this season
- It would have been better to see Aguero introduced sooner than the 77th min
Heading into this final at least one of Fernandinho or Rodri had started in 59 of Manchester City’s 60 games this season. The only time Pep Guardiola had not used one or the other was against Olympiacos in the group stages.
So for Guardiola to suddenly have his side play without Fernandinho or Rodri — in their most important match, no less — was a risk and one which did not work. That was his first mistake. His second was not correcting it sooner than he did.
It was only after 64 minutes, and with City staring at defeat, that Fernandinho was finally brought on.
Manchester City were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the Champions League final on Saturday
In the 2005 Champions League final Rafa Benitez selected an XI that had never played together and with Liverpool 3-0 down at half-time he introduced defensive midfielder Didi Hamann.
As we all know, Liverpool came back to draw 3-3 before beating AC Milan on penalties. But City did not do that on Saturday. Maybe Guardiola did not want to make the change at half-time, which would have looked like an admission of a mistake.
Pep Guardiola decided to start the game without both Fernandinho (above) or Rodri
At least one of Fernandinho or Rodri (right) had started in 59 of City’s 60 games this season
It would have been better to see Sergio Aguero introduced sooner than the 77th minute, too. Aguero looked distraught after full time.
He scored twice as a substitute against Everton in City’s last league game and will wish he’d had more time to make an impact against Chelsea.
As critical as we can be of Guardiola’s decisions, we have to applaud Thomas Tuchel for his. Chelsea controlled this game. They made it so that everything was played in front of their back line.
Tuchel has really got a hold over Guardiola.
It would have been better to see Sergio Aguero (right) introduced sooner than the 77th