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03rd Feb 2018

Gary Neville slams Pep Guardiola’s controversial squad decision for Burnley game


Robert Redmond

Manchester City have suffered some injuries in recent weeks, and were thwarted in their attempts to sign Riyad Mahrez and Alexis Sanchez.

They’ve lost Leroy Sane, Fabian Delph and Gabriel Jesus to lengthy injuries, and Benjamin Mendy won’t return until next season. However, many football fans appear to have little sympathy for Pep Guardiola’s team, as City are one of the richest clubs in the world, they’re 15 points clear at the top of the table, and injuries are a problem for all sides at this stage of the season.

Yet, it appears Guardiola is so depleted of first-team options, that he has been unable to name a full squad for the trip to Burnley on Saturday. The City manager selected just six substitutes on the bench for the match at Turf Moor.

“We have only named six players on the subs bench because we don’t have any more,” he told Sky Sports before the game.

“That is the reason why! We could take one from the second team, but they had a game yesterday.”

However, Gary Neville wasn’t impressed with Guardiola’s decision, calling it a “joke” on Sky. The former Manchester United defender said he should have named a youth-team player on the bench, even if it meant missing a game on Friday night to be involved against Burnley.

“If you’re an academy manager at Manchester City, you must think you’re wasting your time,” Neville said.

“Six players on the bench?! Forget the fact that they’ve spent so much money… Six players on the bench? That to me looks like a protest, and I’m not sure why he’s peddling this thing… He’s an absolutely incredible manager, the work that he has done with this team is unbelievable, and the team performance is absolutely outstanding, it really is. But things like that just let him down, he doesn’t need to do things like that.”

Neville also said that, if Pep had named a youth-team player on the bench, he didn’t need to bring him on in the match, that the experience of being involved with the first-team would have proved beneficial.

“The opportunity again has been missed to promote the wonderful youth-team that Manchester City have got,” Neville said.

“I don’t know why he’s peddling this story that, ‘oh, I’ve got no players’. It is poor to not bring a young player, it is really poor.”