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Pep Guardiola had no objections to having to select a substitutes bench with only two goalkeepers during Manchester City’s thrilling 4-4 tie against Chelsea on Sunday.
The team brought only eight substitutes to Stamford Bridge, including backup goalkeepers Stefan Ortega and Scott Carson, due to injuries that restricted the manager’s choices.
Guardiola did not have John Stones or Nathan Ake, as Ake was ruled out on Friday. Kevin De Bruyne is still unable to play due to a long-term injury.
However, despite their absent trio, City managed to perform well and believed they had secured a win in the final minutes of the match in west London when Rodri’s shot ricocheted off Chelsea’s Thiago Silva.
However, the situation changed when Cole Palmer, a former player for City, scored a penalty in the fifth minute of added time following a foul by Ruben Dias on Armando Broja.
Despite being forced to play without certain players and losing points, Guardiola expressed contentment with the depth of his squad.
“According to him, Kevin has a long-term status while John and Nathan are unfortunately injured. The remaining individuals are okay.”
I prefer working in a small group. It becomes difficult if five, six, or seven players are not actively involved. It is just the nature of the situation.
If we experience injuries, it is unfortunate, but it is something that happens regularly.
“We have had this specific group for a long period of time.”
Guardiola stated that he believed his team delivered a much stronger performance than in previous seasons at Stamford Bridge. This was despite Palmer, who departed City for Chelsea in a transfer worth £42 million on the final day of the window, scoring against his former manager in the closing moments of the match.
After Erling Haaland scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the Premier League, Manuel Akanji also scored, leading the visitors twice.
Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling found the back of the net against the team he has won the league with four times. Teammates Silva and Nicolas Jackson also contributed to the scoring.
“I don’t remember a game where we’ve come here and had the chances that we had,” said Guardiola. “Even games where we’ve come here and won, last year for example was much, much worse than (Sunday).
“Despite being a million times worse than the current situation, we were still able to win 1-0. We exerted effort and generated numerous opportunities.”
Sometimes, talent cannot be managed. They are currently performing well and in excellent form.
“Both teams deserve credit for their performance in a tightly contested game. Momentum played a key role for both sides, and it can be disrupted. Ultimately, the result was fair.”
There have been no alterations. Chelsea remains Chelsea, recognized as one of the most outstanding teams in the past two decades.
I am aware of their abilities. It will be a valuable challenge for us. The fact that we have not experienced a loss in a while is a positive indication.
Today, we did not experience a loss. We played on the road and earned a valuable point. We were able to generate many opportunities at crucial moments.
In my opinion, the outcome was equitable for both parties.