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The bookmakers made Manchester City favourites to beat Chelsea in the final of the Champions League and take home the trophy. But it wasn’t to be as Chelsea won the game 1-0.
There’s a simple law most managers and players obey in the final of any major competition, and that’s to do the basics. But no, not Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola continued in his natural habit of overthinking and put up a surprise lineup before the game as he left out both Fernandinho and Rodri from his starting side and instead opted to play Ilkay Gundogan in a deeper role.
It was a shambolic decision, and by the time he reverted it in the second half, the game was already lost.
Guardiola claimed after the game that he was content with the decision he made, but the Spaniard will know that he lost this game before it even started.
For all of City’s attacking threat on display, they lacked the balance in the middle of the park, and Chelsea exploited it several times to hit them with fierce counterattacking moves. One of such counters led to the goal, with Mason Mount finding Kai Havertz with a sublime pass, and the rest is history.
Defending his decision, Guardiola said after the game: “I decided a decision to have quality players.
“Gundogan played many years in this position, to have speed on the ball, find the small players, the brilliant players in between the lines and this was the decision.”
Speaking after the game, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted he was as well surprised by the decision.
“We were a bit surprised, I expected Fernandinho in the line-up to start,” Tuchel admitted after the game.
“He chose a very offensive line-up, a very technical line-up, it was very hard to steal the ball and recover the ball.
“Everything else we more or less expected.”