Guardiola explains Sterling inclusion in Champions League final XI

Guardiola explains Sterling inclusion in Champions League final XI


Guardiola explains why he opted for Raheem Sterling in Champions League final

Sterling a surprising inclusion

Pep Guardiola made some bold team selections for the Champions League final against Chelsea.

It is the first Champions League final in Manchester City’s history as a club, and Pep Guardiola’s first appearance in the fixture since 2011/12, where he lifted the trophy with Barcelona.

For his return to the biggest stage in World club football, Guardiola opted to leave out a recognised defensive midfielder, with Ilkay Gundogan the most defensive in his midfield.

There was also a return to the side for Raheem Sterling, who has undergone a period of poor form which has seen him in and out of the Manchester City side.

Guardiola explains why he opted for Raheem Sterling in Champions League final

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 10: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City holds the match ball as he applauds fans after the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on August 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Inconsistent Sterling’s chance to redeem himself

The Englishman was left out of the starting XI for both legs of the quarter and semi-final wins, playing just ten minutes across all four games.

However, the winger has been included in an attacking side for the Citizens and Guardiola explained his decision in a pre-match interview to BT sport, saying that:

“If we want a chance to win we have to attack. Of course, you have to defend but our way is to attack. We need everyone, the second half I’m sure will be pretty different to the beginning.”

Asked whether Sterling’s inclusion was a risk due to his lack of football or a wildcard selection, the City boss replied:

“No, absolutely not, they play a system five at the back, we need specific players and in that area and we decide for Raheem.” 

Guardiola explains why he opted for Raheem Sterling in Champions League final

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 28: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City in action during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Manchester City at Goodison Park on September 28, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

This was a sentiment shared by fans across social media and in Portugal.

Speaking to BT Sport, Manchester City fan and Oasis band-member Noel Gallagher said:

“I’ll be honest, I’m surprised to see Sterling starting”

Only time will tell if the decision proves to be a masterstroke from the Spaniard, but he could be rewarded by a first Champions League trophy with Manchester City if it pays off.

 

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# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 38 51 86
2 Manchester United FC 38 29 74
3 Liverpool FC 38 26 69
4 Chelsea FC 38 22 67
5 Leicester City FC 38 18 66
6 West Ham United FC 38 15 65
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 38 23 62
8 Arsenal FC 38 16 61
9 Leeds United 38 8 59
10 Everton FC 38 -1 59
11 Aston Villa FC 38 9 55
12 Newcastle United FC 38 -16 45
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 38 -16 45
14 Crystal Palace FC 38 -25 44
15 Southampton FC 38 -21 43
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 38 -6 41
17 Burnley FC 38 -22 39
18 Fulham FC 38 -26 28
19 West Bromwich Albion 38 -41 26
20 Sheffield United FC 38 -43 23
Player Team Goals
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 23
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 22
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 17
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 17
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 17
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 16
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 15
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 14
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 13
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 13
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 12
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 12
Wood, Chris Burnley FC 12
Iheanacho, Kelechi Leicester City FC 12
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 11
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 11
Pereira, Matheus West Bromwich Albion 11
Bale, Gareth Tottenham Hotspur FC 11
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 11
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 10





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