Pep Guardiola reveals ‘ridiculous ideas’ in mind for Manchester United clash

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola talks to the media Credit: Alamy
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola talks to the media Credit: Alamy

Pep Guardiola isn’t averse to the odd tactical surprise and admits he is pondering some “ridiculous ideas” ahead of the Manchester derby.

City take on Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday but Guardiola admits he is looking ahead to the clash against Manchester United on Saturday in the Premier League.

“I would like to arrive against United with the average of minutes in the legs of the players quite ­similar, because I have a few ideas, thoughts – ridiculous ones – against United, but still I didn’t watch the last games,” he said.

“I have to see the way they [United] play at home and if they changed something. I have to still review it. That is why I don’t have a clear line-up against United. These ones [against Southampton and United], it also depends on those who didn’t play against Chelsea.

“I would say the game against Chelsea [in the FA Cup on Sunday], I made a lot of changes for one ­reason – how tired I saw some players after the game, after the trip [to Chelsea in the league three days before]. We arrived too late and in training the day after I saw the players tired.”

Wednesday’s League Cup clash could see Kalvin Phillips make his first start since joining from Leeds last summer.

The England international, who underwent shoulder surgery in September, only made four substitute appearances prior to the World Cup, then was described by City boss Guardiola as having returned from the tournament in Qatar overweight and not in condition to do training sessions or play.

Phillips has subsequently come off the bench, to replace Rodri, twice against Chelsea as City beat them 1-0 away in the Premier League last Thursday and then 4-0 at home in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Guardiola on Tuesday declared Phillips’ readiness to start, and said: “I am pretty sure he would be frustrated, when you come and cannot play.

“But the shoulder was the main thing, after surgery he came back perfectly, and now he feels fine, so it’s just now a question of time, minutes, and with the amount of games we have, we are going to use him.

“We saw the attributes he has (before signing him) and we decide to do it, with the fact Fernandinho announced he was going back to Brazil and we need one player to help Rodri in this position.

“In duels especially he understands where the ball is coming, he’s strong in the air, when there’s tempo he has the quality to break lines. He has to improve the reception from central defenders, but this is going to be a question of time because at Leeds he moved, always had the quality to do it.

“He’s a national team player and when England reached the (Euros) final (in 2021), with Declan Rice, they both played amazingly. He has the mentality to have been training with Marcelo (Bielsa, the former Leeds manager), the resilience and fight.

“So many attributes (to make me) believe he could settle perfectly with us, and I’m convinced it’s going to happen.”

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