Ilkay Gundogan gives verdict on unusual Pep Guardiola decision in Man City draw with RB Leipzig

- Ilkay Gundogan believes Manchester City are equipped to deal with playing a full match without substitutions, as what happened in Wednesday's draw with RB Leipzig.

City returned to Champions League action for the first leg of their last 16 tie and came away from Germany with a 1-1 stalemate. The Blues dominated the first half and took the lead through a fine Riyad Mahrez strike.

Just like at Nottingham Forest, though, Pep Guardiola's side failed to take their chances and lost their lead after Josko Gvardiola equalised with a powerful header. Leipzig were well worthy of the leveller after pushing City back for all of the second half but after the goal, the Blues rallied and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the dying moments for a handball from Benjamin Henrich.

Guardiola made the rare and unusual decision not to make a single substitution, even when City's backs were against the wall, and Gundogan has given his verdict on the ploy. “It’s nothing we are not used to," he said.

"He [Guardiola] will have his reasons not to make a sub. I felt like everyone on the pitch was feeling ok and was fresh and able to compete for the whole 90 minutes. It’s something we have to accept. We had good chances at the end to get a winner, but we’ll take the result and try to do better in the next game."

After the match, Guardiola sarcastically explained that just because he has the substitutions it doesn't mean he has to make them before adding a bit of detail to his thinking. He admitted he considered bringing on Phil Foden but was impressed with how his side reacted to conceding the goal and expressed the need for control.

"I was really pleased with what I was seeing," he said. "With Phil to have this talent to do this, after the goal I thought immediately to bring Phil but we took the game in our hands.

"With this control. Because they play with six upfront. Two fullbacks as wingers, four players incredible runners. Those positions you need control. That's why the players we had, Gundogan, Riyad [Mahrez], you need extra passes.

"Especially in the first leg, maybe second leg I decide to be crazy and play nine strikers and make up and downs. In this game I felt, I've been in this country and I need this type of control. Up and downs, it's open, one or two actions from Gundo to give the ball to Erling they block it. These situations, German teams are better than us."


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