Man City manager Pep Guardiola gave a single sentence response to the burning question of why he opted not to start with either Rodri or Fernandinho.
Man City suffered more European heartache after emerging on the losing end of their maiden Champions League final. Kai Havertz struck for Chelsea on the stroke of half time after rounding Ederson following a ricochet that fell directly into his path.
Man City talisman Kevin De Bruyne saw his evening end in tears after suffering a sickening head clash with Antonio Rudiger.
Sergio Aguero saw action in the closing stages, but there was to be no repeat of his famous heroics versus QPR as Chelsea held on to their slender 1-0 lead.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Guardiola said: “It has been an exceptional season for us. It was a tight game. We had chances. We were brilliant in the second half, we were brave and we could not convert the chances as they were so strong. The players were exceptional. We come back maybe one day again!”
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand spoke out after full time about Guardiola’s curious decision to not start one of their two recognised holding midfielders. It was just the second time this season that neither Rodri or Fernandinho were in the eleven from the first whistle.
“I think that will be levelled at him [criticism over tinkering a winning formula] because he changed the way he had played all season,” said Ferdinand. “He has always had Rodri or Fernandinho in there but he changed it.
“We know tactically he tinkers, he might have seen a weakness in there but Thomas Tuchel nullified any threat.”
When the question was put to Guardiola, the Spaniard bluntly said: “I did what I thought was the best decision.
“[Kevin de Bruyne] got injured but that happens in this competition and in these games. We needed everyone.
“The ambition now is to rest but then prepare for the next season. It was the first time we were at this stage. Hopefully we will be here again in the future.”
“Good” for Man City’s first final – Guardiola
Speaking further about the defeat via Football London, Guardiola highlighted the courage his side showed and insisted it was a “good, good” final for their first time here.
“First half was bad, second half was much better,” said the Spaniard.” But it is a bad day. We struggled with the long balls, the second balls. It was an exceptional season for us. We tried but we did not do it.
“It was a tight game and for our first final it was a good, good final. We showed courage.
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