Pep Guardiola explains Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland substitution | Football

Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland both asked for a rest (Picture: Getty)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has explained why he substituted Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland before losing to Real Madrid on penalties.

Guardiola guided City to Champions League glory last term as part of a historic treble but they crashed out in the semi-finals on Wednesday to the Spanish side.

Rodrygo opened the scoring for the La Liga giants but De Bruyne forced extra-time and a shootout after he equalised for City in the 76th minute of the match.

De Bruyne and Haaland – arguably City’s most important attacking players – were surprisingly subbed off before the game went to penalties.

Haaland was replaced by Julian Alvarez in the 91st minute while De Bruyne came off for Mateo Kovacic eight minutes before the shootout.

Guardiola has now revealed why De Bruyne and Haaland were substituted and claims that both players requested a rest.

‘Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne asked me to go out,’ Guardiola said in his post-match press conference.

Pep Guardiola pictured at his post-match press conference after losing to Real Madrid

Pep Guardiola says the two Man City stars ‘could not continue’ (Picture: Getty)

‘They could not continue. In the game they were amazing. I didn’t plan to make a lot of substitutions but they asked me to go out because they could not continue.’

Meanwhile, Guardiola has appeared to aim a sly dig at Real Madrid for defending so deeply.

‘I would prefer to win, first of all,’ Guardiola added. ‘Congrats to Real Madrid. They defended so deep. We did everything. I have no regrets. We played expectational in all departments and unfortunately we could not win. That’s what it is.

‘They defended deeper than in previous seasons. We created chances but football is about scoring goals and they did it better than us.

‘I have a duty to say thank you, deep in my heart, to these [City] players for the way they played against that team.

‘Football is about results, it is a business, they will be in the semi-finals and we will not. It is [only] little margins. Sometimes you win a penalty [shootout], sometimes not.’


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