Football

Guardiola defends sub snub

Pep Guardiola defended his decision to name only six substitutes for Manchester City's 1-1 English Premier League draw at Burnley, claiming that he did not have enough players to fill his bench despite boasting the EPL's most expensive squad.

The City manager visited Turf Moor without seven injured players on Saturday and has recently complained that referees are not offering his players enough protection.

City also had a late pursuit of Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez rebuffed by the Foxes before last Wednesday's transfer deadline.

But Guardiola insisted that an elite development squad fixture on Friday evening was also a key factor behind his decision as he did not want to withdraw any of his youngsters from that game to travel with the first team.

"We didn't have any players," said Guardiola.

"They are injured.

"I'd like to have 18 players and could have called on one of the second team, but they played yesterday. Others were injured.

"We decided not to bring someone onto the bench who played last night because they wouldn't have played.

"We will see at Leicester (on Saturday) how many are coming back."

However, Guardiola's selection drew widespread criticism, particularly from the television pundit and former Manchester United star Gary Neville, who described the decision as a "joke".

Even without a string of key players, including David Silva, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, City looked well on course for victory after Danilo's stunning 22nd-minute opener.

However, Guardiola's men missed a catalogue of chances and were punished after 82 minutes when Johann Berg Gudmundsson volleyed in a spectacular equaliser. - AFP

Football