You won’t find many people who can find fault with Pep Guardiola following Manchester City’s exploits this season, but Gary Neville has!
The outspoken former Manchester United captain turned pundit has branded the City boss ‘a joke’ after he only named six substitutes on the bench for Saturday’s game against Burnley.
Speaking before the game, Guardiola said:
“I would like to have 18 players but they are injured. I could have called one of the second team but they played their match on Friday and they wouldn’t have got on the pitch ahead of Yaya (Toure) or (Oleksandr) Zinchenko so we decided not to use them.”
But Neville labelled Guardiola’s decision as ‘a joke’ and ‘really poor’, claiming it undermines the effort of youth team players and coaches at the club.
“I was really hoping he wasn’t going to give the answer that he did. I think it’s a joke, an absolute joke. If you are a youth team manager at Manchester City ring him up.
“Forget the second team – even if they played yesterday still bring one on the bench – the youth team are there. Bring a kid, travel with the team, help the kitman, put him on the bench, have the experience of being in a Premier League game and give somebody a boost.
“If you are an academy manager or reserve team manager at Manchester City you must think I am wasting my time. Forget the fact of how much money they’ve spent, six players on the bench is like a protest. I’m not sure why he is peddling this theme.
“He’s an absolutely incredible manager, the work he has done with this team is unbelievable and the team performances absolutely outstanding. But things like that let you down, he doesn’t need to do that.
“He doesn’t have to bring the kid off the bench, he could just bring him for the experience, the feeling. I just feel like the opportunity has been missed again to promote the wonderful youth-team that Man City have got.
“I don’t know why he is peddling that story. It’s poor to not bring a young player. It’s really poor. I can guarantee you that the academy and youth team coaches at Man City will be really disheartened by that. I guarantee you.
“He might as well just bring three if you go with the theory about not playing. Just fill your bench.”
City were eventually denied all three points after Johann Berg Gudmundson equalised late on for the Clarets.
Manchester City have heavily invested in their youth academy, and as one of our writers looked at this week, they have produced some excellent talents, although it seems as though Guardiola doesn’t have enough faith in their abilities.