Pep Guardiola DEFENDS his team selection after making SEVEN changes for Man City’s FA Cup semi-final defeat against Liverpool… and refuses to blame goalkeeper Zack Steffen for ‘accident’ which gifted Sadio Mane a simple goal at Wembley
- Pep Guardiola made seven changes from the side that played on Wednesday
- Man City went on to lose their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Saturday
- Guardiola insisted that it was the right decision to rotate his squad at Wembley
- He also defended Zack Steffen after the goalkeeper’s costly first half howler
Pep Guardiola insisted he had no regrets for the team he selected at Wembley and refused to pin any blame on reserve goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Guardiola made seven changes to the side that had drawn 0-0 with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday to progress in the Champions League, one of the most notable being resting Ederson for Steffen, who plays most domestic cup competitions.
Steffen was culpable for Liverpool’s second goal, as his poor touch allowed Sadio Mane to charge him down and punish him to maximum effect. The United States international – who also had questions to answer about allowing a volley from Mane to slide past him on the cusp of half-time – was noticeably shattered at the final whistle and was consoled by Ruben Dias on the pitch.
Man City lost in the FA Cup semi-finals but Pep Guardiola did not regret his team selection
Zack Steffen made a vital error in the first half but Guardiola refused to blame his goalkeeper
Guardiola said: ‘I have a lot of confidence in my players. We had a lot of fixtures and travels and a lot of important games and that’s why I picked the team.
‘The first goal (from Ibrahima Konate) was a set-piece, where Liverpool are so strong and score many goals, and the second was an accident. Then we conceded a goal in the last minute of the first half, but afterwards we showed incredible pride.
‘We didn’t look tired after we scored because football is about momentum. We had the most clear chances and we scored goals. It is not easy to do that against Liverpool. We fought to the end and showed our pride.’
Ibrahima Konate scored from a corner in the first half to give Liverpool the lead
Sadio Mane also scored twice to hand Liverpool a dominant lead at half time
Guardiola praised his side for showing pride as they nearly pulled off a second half comeback
On Steffen, Guardiola added: ‘It was an accident but we need him to try because that’s how we play our football.
‘I spoke to the team in general but it was an accident, it happens. Edi was close (to making a mistake) in the last game as well. It happens. We need that to create our football. Of course you should review if it happens quite often but we use our keeper to move our opponents into different situations.
‘I would say that the average, the way we create our options, these things can happen. It is an accident. I’m pretty sure Zack didn’t want to do it. Sometimes the strikers miss in front of the keeper, other times the keeper makes a mistake.’