Football

Guardiola defends squad rotation

Pep Guardiola had no regrets about rotating his squad, after a much-changed Manchester City were held 0-0 by Huddersfield in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The sides will replay their fifth-round tie on Feb 28 after City, who made eight changes at the John Smith's Stadium, were frustrated by the Championship promotion-chasers.

Huddersfield also made seven changes as it was clear both managers had other priorities and, even though the addition to the fixture list was not ideal, Guardiola defended his decision.

He said: "Huddersfield rotated their players.

"With this schedule, with a lot of games - we played three or four days ago, we had this game, we have Champions League against Monaco - these players deserved to play."

Guardiola said the replay would not affect City's plans to travel to Abu Dhabi, home of owner Sheikh Mansour, for a warm-weather training camp after Wednesday morning's (Singapore time) Champions League clash against Monaco.

City, who are not in league action this weekend due to the League Cup final between Manchester United and Southampton, plan to return from Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Guardiola did not comment on an incident during the second half at Huddersfield when a bottle was thrown in the direction of City substitutes Raheem Sterling, Bacary Sagna and Leroy Sane as they warmed up.

Sagna appeared to be sprayed by liquid and made clear his displeasure by glaring back into the crowd.

He said: "I prefer not to say anything. I don't want to be banned because normally we are banned. That is why I prefer to be quiet."

Huddersfield boss David Wagner was pleased with his side's battling display.

The German said: "If we play one of the best teams in the world, they will create some chances, but we wanted to show we are one of the fittest teams in the competition, that we are aggressive and brave enough.

"All of that, we have proved today." - PA SPORT

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