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‘When you lose it’s a mistake, when we win I am a genius’ – Pep defends Man City changes in Leeds loss

16:39 BST 10/04/2021
Pep Guardiola Manchester City Leeds 2020-21
The Premier League leaders suffered a rare defeat when playing host to the Whites, but their manager has no regrets at rotating his team

Pep Guardiola has no regrets over tinkering with his Manchester City side in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Leeds, with the Blues boss eager to point out that he is hailed as a “genius” when rotation works.

The Premier League leaders saw a home date with the Whites sandwiched between the two legs of a Champions League quarter-final clash with Borussia Dortmund.

With one hand on a domestic title, Guardiola opted to tinker with his plans and leave the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez out of his starting XI.

What has been said?

After seeing a smash and grab raid from Leeds earn them all three points at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola told reporters when quizzed on his team selection: “When you lose [the selection is a mistake], when we win, I am a genius.

“I do not regret [the choices] because I trust them. If I didn't trust them, they would not play.

“Everyone was good. It was a game of transitions. We had to avoid it, they did it.

“At 10 v 11, we need inspiration and we can't let them run [from deep]. We did it for a long time but then Raphinha had a chance and Eddie [Ederson] saved - and then they scored.

“When you attack and attack and attack, you have to control and not let them run.”

What happened against Leeds?

City dominated proceedings for long periods against the Whites, especially after seeing Marcelo Bielsa’s visitors reduced to 10 men.

Liam Cooper saw red for a reckless challenge on Gabriel Jesus, but Stuart Dallas had opened the scoring by then.

Ferran Torres restored parity in the second half, but that was the only successful effort from 29 shots fired in by the Blues.

Leeds mustered only two, with Dallas doubling his tally for the day when snatching a dramatic stoppage-time winner.

City remain 14 points clear at the top of the table, with Guardiola not overly conceded by one setback as his side prepare to take a narrow 2-1 lead to Dortmund for a crunch continental clash on Wednesday.

He added: “Congratulations to Leeds, first of all,” he said.

“We did not create enough for the forwards. It is part of the game.

“In the last 10 minutes they had other chances, they are fast and can do it. When they defend in the way they were doing you have to stop them running and we did not do that.

“We are going to rest and prepare two days for the game in Dortmund and decide on how we are going to play.”

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