- Blues face tough test in north London
- Belgian midfielder on the bench
- England forward not in matchday squad
WHAT HAPPENED? The Blues opted to leave their Belgium international midfielder on the bench at Spurs, with Rico Lewis starting again while Rodri operated in a holding role and Bernardo Silva filled a playmaking post. De Bruyne was once the first name on the team sheet for City, as a two-time PFA Player of the Year, but Guardiola has already admitted this season that the 31-year-old will miss out when his tactical system calls for something different.
WHAT THEY SAID: Asked by Sky Sports ahead of a crunch clash with Spurs as to whether De Bruyne’s absence was “purely tactical”, Guardiola said: “Yeah, definitely.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While De Bruyne was named among the substitutes, England international forward Foden was not involved in the matchday squad at all. Quizzed on whether the 22-year-old had picked up a knock, Guardiola said: “He was there yesterday in the hotel and he felt unwell – the whole night really bad and he should come back to Manchester.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT? City beat Spurs in the Premier League on January 19, with Guardiola’s side hitting back from trailing 2-0 at half-time to prevail 4-2 in a thrilling encounter at the Etihad Stadium.