Men's Team

Guardiola reveals defensive decisions

Guardiola reveals defensive decisions
Pep Guardiola expects to utilise all four of his ‘excellent’ centre-halves and says they must be ready to play when called upon.

The January addition of Aymeric Laporte allied with the revitalised Vincent Kompany and John Stones’ return from injury, has left the Manchester City boss with a fortuitous selection dilemma.

The victories over Arsenal and Chelsea saw Stones miss out, but Guardiola, who admits he makes his decisions on a game by game basis, says all four defenders should expect to play.

“We have four excellent central defenders,” he told journalists ahead of the Champions League game against Basel.

“John is an extraordinary player. What he has done has shown me that.

“Kompany was not available for a long period but he played the last games. John had a chance [to play] in the last game and this game his does.

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“He doesn’t and I don’t have any doubts about his ability to play in this team.

“They all have to be ready. They have to be prepared for my decisions.

“When I play Nico and Vincent they are perfect at winning duels. In some games I need that. In other games I need more build-up and more special details.

“Sometimes that influences my decisions.”

Holding a 4-0 first leg lead over Basel and with a Premier League title edging ever closer, many are tipping City for Champions League glory, but for Pep the continent’s top competition is not one you can predict.

“We are not in the quarter-final,” he explained.

“That’s the best advice I can give my players. In football when you are done, you are done.

“Tomorrow we can reach the quarter-finals for the second time in our whole history. People are talking about us winning in February because so far we have been really good.

“The Champions League is different. In the Champions League, if Fabian Delph gets a red card like he did against Wigan, you don’t win. Sometimes it’s not about how you play.

“It’s a different situation.

“Tomorrow we have a chance to reach the quarter-final for the second time in our history and that is so important.

“It’s enough for us to be focused.”