Man City manager Pep Guardiola has finally admitted to having the tendency to ‘overthink’ things in the Champions League amid his rookie error in last season’s final that eventually allowed Kai Havertz to win the crown for Chelsea.
Guardiola has always been a man to rotate a team in all competitions and why wouldn’t he with the size of his Man City squad. But in the Champions League itself, he has always been known for thinking outside the box. And that’s exactly what he did in last season’s final in Porto against the now two-time winners of the competition. News had surfaced earlier on May 30, 2021, that the Spaniard was prepared to play without a natural holding midfielder and that’s exactly what he did in the end to his own detriment.
A rather attacking midfield three of Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden took to the Estadio do Dragao pitch in what turned out to be a historic night for Thomas Tuchel and co. That decision itself was the costly factor in deciding the final. Mason Mount’s splitting pass through the whole of the non-defensive Man City midfield eventually resulted in Kai Havertz rounding Ederson and slotting in.
A goal that in the end proved enough and the Cityzens’ midfield instability that was present throughout the whole game due to a lack of a defensive midfielder on the pitch despite Fernandinho’s availability became a talking point post-match. Many pundits and fans alike had criticised Guardiola for his strange decision on this specific occasion and the worry for most City fans now ahead of their quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday is whether or not Pep has learnt from his errors of previous seasons in big games.
The answer to that on paper is yes as Guardiola finally admitted his error that cost his side dearly in last season’s showpiece event during the coronavirus times that we were living in. Ahead of Atletico Madrid, he reflected in his pre-match press conference via the Manchester Evening News:”In the Champions League I always overthink. I always create new tactics and ideas, and tomorrow you will see a new one. I overthink a lot, that’s why I have very good results in the Champions League. I love it. It would be boring if I always played the same way.
“If people think I will play the same against Atletico and Liverpool, I don’t think like that because the movements from Liverpool are completely different than Atletico – especially because the players are all different. Every player has a mother and father and the mother and father give different personalities to the players. That’s why I love to overthink and create stupid tactics, and when we don’t win I am punished. Tonight I will take inspiration and I’m going to do incredible tactics tomorrow. We play with 12 tomorrow!”