'Play with nine strikers!' - Pep Guardiola reveals 'crazy' thoughts for Man City's return clash with RB Leipzig after making ZERO subs in first leg draw

20230223 Pep Guardiola
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Pep Guardiola said he might "play with nine strikers" in Manchester City's return clash against RB Leipzig after their disappointing draw in Germany.
  • Man City held 1-1 by Leipzig
  • Guardiola made no changes
  • Suggested 'crazy' idea of playing nine strikers

WHAT HAPPENED? City were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League tie at Red Bull Arena. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark but Josko Gvardiol scored a deserved equaliser in the 70th minute with a towering header. Even after conceding, Guardiola refused to make any substitutions despite having Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez on the bench. After the game, the City boss defended his decision and suggested he might try a "crazy" formation in the second leg.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I have the opportunity to have five substitutions. It doesn’t mean I have to do the substitutions. I was really pleased with what I was seeing. I analysed Leipzig with my people and you need this kind of control, because they play with six up front," Guardiola told reporters.

“We don’t have the team to compete with them in the transitions. They are better than us, they are faster and quicker. In these situations, German teams are better than us. We had to have a lot of control. Maybe in the second leg, I will decide to be crazy and play with nine strikers."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite the draw, Guardiola claimed he was 'delighted' with the result. He also explained why he called in his players for a team huddle at full-time, adding: “Their heads were down. [I asked them] Why are your heads down? That was really good. They played the game they should play. We had four games in 10 days, we come here, and then the day after tomorrow we fly to Bournemouth. I put all this in perspective and I am so delighted for the game we played. It’s the Champions League. Such a demanding competition."


Pep Guardiola Man City vs Leipzig walking off 2022-23

Riyad Mahrez, RB Leipzig Manchester City Champions League 22022023

Erling Haaland Manchester City Champions League HIC 2:1

WHAT NEXT FOR MANCHESTER CITY? Guardiola will rally his troops in the second leg of the tie against Leipzig on March 14, but before that, they will shift their attention to the Premier League as they are set to face Bournemouth on Saturday. That fixture will be followed by a trip to Bristol City for an FA Cup fifth-round tie on February 28.