Men's Team

Squad rotation key in City's quest for success, says Onuoha

Nedum Onuoha believes that squad rotation could prove a defining factor in City’s quest for success as the season reaches the business end.

Tuesday’s 4-0 aggregate Champions League last-16 success over Borussia Monchengladbach ensured that Pep Guardiola’s side are still very much in the hunt for all four major trophies.

City are currently top of the Premier League by 14 points, are through to next month’s Carabao Cup final and are now gearing up for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final trip to Everton.

Our 2-0 second leg success against Gladbach in Budapest saw the boss once again rotate, making five changes to the side which had beaten Fulham 3-0 last weekend.


With games coming thick and fast, Guardiola has regularly made changes to keep his players fresh.

And former City central defender Onuoha says that such is the quality throughout the City squad, it has proved a vital factor in a remarkable run that has seen us win 24 of the past 25 games.

“When there’s rotation it’s not a step back,” Onuoha pointed out on Tuesday’s latest matchday edition of We’re Not Really Here.

“We love Phil Foden and want him to play every week for example but if he’s not in, it’s another great player there.

“It’s a bit of a headache for Pep sometimes but the players are all pulling together whether they’re playing or they’re not and that goes a long way.”

Onuoha’s point was echoed by Kevin Horlock, a fellow special guest on Tuesday’s latest We’re Not Really Here show.


The midfielder said there was a common unity of purpose running throughout the squad.

And with City still in the running for all four trophies, the relentless schedule meant every player was set to have a vital role to play between now and the end of the season.

"They’re all serial winners like our manager and they want to win things and they realise to win things you need everybody,” Horlock asserted.

“They trust Pep, they’re all top players who would play regularly at any club.

“You have to train properly, rest right, he’s got it down to a tee. We don’t know what the next team’s going to be and we don’t care because we know it’ll be top drawer whoever it is!”

Saturday’s trip to Goodison marks the final game before the March international break – a welcome breather after four months of almost non-stop action.

But Horlock said with so much at stake on Merseyside and the nature of cup football, it meant there was no danger of City losing focus.


“Over the course of a league season you know you can have off days and lose the odd game but in cup football that means the end of the road,” Horlock pointed out.

“Pep will be focusing on that game already. Because we’re doing so well in the league it might give us an opportunity to plan for it.

“Saturday is massive. Everton will be up for it, they started the season well and faded a bit, but they’ll be made up for it and see it as a chance to progress.

“A lot of clubs and supporters complain about rest, but will this team be tired? I don’t think it will, Manchester City will go there being bang on favourites and rightly so.”

Onuoha amplified Horlock’s viewpoint.

And the former central defender believes he belief and winning mentality engendered in the squad by the manager means the desire for success burns deep within every player.

“I don’t think Pep sets up to draw, he’s a front foot manager who's won a ton of games as a player and manager,” Nedum pointed out.

“He goes to win every game, and it’s the FA Cup, it puts you in a unique situation as there’s no chance to bounce back.

“But the belief is all based around winning matches. Whoever they play against the goal remains the same. For them, it makes no difference.”

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