Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has revealed why Pep Guardiola opted against playing a striker in the 3-1 win over Manchester United last night.
The Red Devils play with a man to mark marking system, and Guardiola decided that the best policy was to outnumber their opponents in the middle of the pitch.
De Bruyne confirmed they had only worked on the formation in a very brief session in training but it was enough to undo United’s game plan:
“We did 15 minutes on it in the morning, that’s about it. We didn’t train that but it’s not like we never did it before – we did it sometimes against teams that prefer to play man-against-man; Cardiff, United, in Barcelona away we did it the first year with Pep, so we’ve done it a couple of times.”
“With Bernardo dropping it is four against three in the midfield, so they have to choose what they do – if they put their defender up there is more space behind and if not Bernardo is going to be free and that is what we tried to do.”
Sometimes a very simple change can lead to a big impact on a game, and the tactical switch made by Guardiola had the desired effect.
Bernardo Silva was free to roam right across the pitch leaving him free to shoot when United failed to close him down for the first goal. The Portuguese then went deep to pick out a pass for Riyad Mahrez’s second.
With the damage done in the first leg, City just need to keep things tight at the Etihad in three weeks time to progress to the Carabao Cup final.