CHRIS SUTTON: Pep Guardiola’s two biggest mistakes that led to City’s downfall in the Champions League

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CHRIS SUTTON: Benching Rodri and Fernandinho as they decide to bring Sergio Aguero into the final late as Pep Guardiola’s two biggest Champions League mistakes

  • Manchester City was defeated 1-0 by Chelsea in the Champions League final
  • Pep Guardiola decided to start the match without Fernandinho or Rodri
  • One of Fernandinho or Rodri had started in 59 of City’s 60 games this season
  • It would have been better if Aguero was introduced earlier than the 77th minute

On the way to 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 hadn’t used one or the other was against Olympiacos in the group stage.

So for Guardiola to suddenly let them play without Fernandinho or Rodri – in their main game, no less – was a risk and one that didn’t work. That was his first mistake. His second didn’t correct it before he did.

It wasn’t until 64 minutes, and with City staring at defeat, that Fernandinho was finally deployed.

Manchester City was defeated 1-0 by Chelsea in the Champions League final on Saturday

In the 2005 Champions League final, Rafa Benitez chose an XI who had never played together and with Liverpool 3-0 at half time, he introduced defensive midfielder Didi Hamann.

As we all know, Liverpool came back with a 3-3 draw before beating AC Milan on penalties. But City didn’t do that on Saturday. Perhaps Guardiola did not want to make the change at half time, which would have seemed like an admission of a mistake.

Pep Guardiola decided to start the match without both Fernandinho (above) and Rodri

Pep Guardiola decided to start the match without both Fernandinho (above) and Rodri

At least one of Fernandinho or Rodri (right) had started in 59 of City's 60 games this season

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 also introduce earlier than the 77th minute. Aguero looked distraught after a full time.

He scored twice as a substitute against Everton in City’s final league game and wish he had had more time to make an impact against Chelsea.

As critical as we can be of Guardiola’s decisions, we must applaud Thomas Tuchel for his. Chelsea controlled this match. They made sure that everything was played in front of their back line.

Tuchel really has a grip on Guardiola.

It would have been better to see Sergio Aguero (right) introduce earlier than the 77th

It would have been better to see Sergio Aguero (right) introduce earlier than the 77th

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