Pep Guardiola admits his ‘game plan was not good’ enough after Man City were beaten by


  • Guardiola took the blame for the defeat after embracing his players on the pitch
  • He rebuffed suggestions that his side’s title celebrations had no impact on result
  • Have Chelsea offered Manchester United a way out of the Erik ten Hag darkness through Mauricio Pochettino’s exit? – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off! Podcast

Pep Guardiola rather aimlessly wandered around the Wembley turf as preparations were made for Manchester United to go and collect the crowning piece of Erik ten Hag‘s reign.

He went over to each player, offering sympathetic embraces. He went over to referee Andrew Madley and was in deep conversation over the officiating. He started waving to those who stayed behind to clap them off.

Unusually insecure at the back and unusually impotent, City’s first-half performance bore the prints of a squad who had been out drinking until 5am on Monday after clinching a record Premier League title.

Guardiola held his hands up afterwards, deflecting blame away from the players and instead focusing it on himself. ‘I think my game plan was not good,’ he said. ‘For my decisions we were not in the right positions to attack them. My mistake, my game plan was not good.’

Mateo Kovacic had come in alongside Rodri, with the thinking to afford City more control in a congested area of the pitch.

Pep Guardiola has admitted that his 'gameplan wasn't good' in his side's FA Cup final defeat by Manchester United

Pep Guardiola has admitted that his ‘gameplan wasn’t good’ in his side’s FA Cup final defeat by Manchester United 

The Spaniard offered sympathetic embraces to his players following the full time whistle

The Spaniard offered sympathetic embraces to his players following the full time whistle

He said the result was 'my mistake', deflecting blame away from his players after the loss

He said the result was ‘my mistake’, deflecting blame away from his players after the loss 

It saw Jeremy Doku drop out, the Belgian speedster only called for once the favourites had gone in 2-0 down. And John Stones was preferred to Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias, presumably for similar reasons to Kovacic’s inclusion.

Neither worked and Guardiola recognised that at half time, sending for Doku and Akanji. He was absolutely adamant that the late night at Fenix, the bourgeois Mediterranean restaurant, and the two days the players were allowed off until Wednesday afternoon, had no bearing on the performance.

‘No, completely the opposite,’ the City boss said. ‘They were completely focused and how they reacted after was so good.

‘We celebrated well this week and when you make 91 points in the Premier League it’s because the journey was really good. You have to be so proud to celebrate what you have done.’

Guardiola watched Erling Haaland strike the woodwork, while Julian Alvarez missed two presentable opportunities before United closed out the game.

‘The second half was much, much better,’ Guardiola added. ‘We were more intense, in part because we had nothing to lose.

‘Maybe it could have been different but the team was there like all the time when we lose. It’s normal that teams can lose finals but this season has been extraordinary, fighting for all the trophies in a good way. Rest and come back next season.’

They have a parade to finish on the streets of Manchester, down Deansgate, tonight before they all break up for another year. That was said to be going ahead irrespective of the result at Wembley.

‘We celebrated on Sunday, this is Saturday,’ captain Kyle Walker said. ‘It’s six days. If us athletes can’t recover in six days we’ve got no chance for everyone. We had to take that moment on Sunday, because if we’re celebrating now on a downer it won’t feel right.’

Guardiola rebuffed suggestions that his side struggled to due the extra days off due to their title celebrations

Guardiola rebuffed suggestions that his side struggled to due the extra days off due to their title celebrations

He also lumped praise on under-fire opposition manager Erik ten Hag (pictured), branding him ‘a lovely person’ and ‘extraordinary manager’

After suffering defeat at Wembley, Guardiola only had praise for opposing manager Erik ten Hag, stating: ‘They [United] have to make a decision [on Teg Hag’s future].

‘I don’t know, but he is a lovely person, an extraordinary manager, winning the FA Cup was important for them like it was for us last season.’





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