Pep Guardiola decided not to introduce Kevin De Bruyne against Liverpool as he didn’t want to risk losing him for the Premier League fixture with Brighton on Wednesday.
The Manchester City midfielder wasn’t expected to be available for the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, but he was surprisingly named amongst the substitutes just three days after limping out of the draw with Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Guardiola revealed that De Bruyne had required stitches in a foot injury on Friday but felt he was fit enough to be a part of the squad to face Liverpool.
The Belgian spent part of the second half warming up on the Wembley touchline but Guardiola used only one substitute, bringing Riyad Mahrez on for Gabriel Jesus for the final seven minutes of the game.
The City boss revealed he didn’t want to risk De Bruyne, despite naming him on the bench as City’s chances of a Treble ended with their 3-2 defeat.
“Yesterday he had four stitches in the right foot when he hit the ball. He can walk and he can run, but if he plays and opens stitches maybe we lose him more,” said Guardiola. “In the end, I didn’t want to take a risk to lose him for the next game, sometimes it can open again during the game. When you play a lot of games these situations can happen.”
Guardiola said of the senior players on the bench only Rodri and Mahrez were really in a position to come on and he was forced to make seven changes after their heroic display in Madrid on Wednesday night. Liverpool’s squad looks stronger than City’s at the moment, an admission Guardiola made after the defeat.
“Right now yeah, but it is what it is. Kevin could not play, Kyle could not play, we have situations, but it is what it is, when you play a lot of games, when everybody is fit it’s ok but when we have a few injuries we have some academy players in the squad,” he said.
These Guardiola’s comments were shared on Twitter by City Xtra and it attracted plenty of attention from the club’s supporters.
“Finally some sense”
“Probably the only good decision he made today he should have brought on the subs much earlier like in the 60-70 minute”
“KDB we understand but why didn’t you change something earlier not in the closing moments you Always do this leave it late.”
“Totally agree with this ,but can’t rely on 1 player.”