The 50-year-old Catalan coach surprised many fans when the team’s news was released ahead of the Porto clash by starting the game without a natural defensive midfielder, and instead throwing Ilkay Gundogan into the role Deeper.
The Germany international had often been used in a more advanced midfielder role throughout the Champions League campaign and in their winning Premier League season – and put to good use.
But the use of Gundogan in a lone defensive midfielder role left the squad wide open against Thomas Tuchel’s side, in an area where many believe Rodrigo or Fernandinho would have added much needed solidity.
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Speaking while with Germany on an international mission for the 2020 European Championships, Ilkay Gundogan was asked about Pep Guardiola’s decision to use him in a relatively unknown role in the League final champions.
The former Borussia Dortmund man certainly hinted at his surprise and slight frustration at the delay in a decision he called “special diet‘by Pep Guardiola against Chelsea.
According to Christian Falk from BILD, explained Gundogan, “A few days before the [Champions League] in the end, it became clear that there is a special idea in the manager’s mind [Pep Guardiola]. I tried to make the most of it. CA shouldn’t be.“
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Ilkay Gundogan was recently linked with a high-profile move away from the Etihad Stadium this summer, with various claims suggesting that the La Liga giants Barcelona have had talks with the player’s representatives over the possibility of a move.
However, it now appears that Manchester City have themselves briefed the media on the reality of the situation, as reports from all Sky Sports, BBC and Manchester Evening News indicate Etihad officials have no intention of to sell the player this summer or open talks on a new contract, which has two more years to run.
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