Pep Guardiola hints at tactical madness for Manchester derby

Guardiola jokes he is a 'genius' after substitutes lead Man City to victory

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Pep Guardiola is ready to spring selection surprises in the Manchester derby this weekend admitting he has “some ridiculous ideas” up his sleeve. The City boss, whose side take on Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter final on Wednesday, 24 hours after United’s game against Charlton, has been accused of over-thinking tactics in the past.

But he insisted that would not stop him throwing a curve ball or two at Erik ten Hag’s men at Old Trafford on Saturday.

“I made a lot of changes against Chelsea and saw how tired some of the players were after the game and after the trip,” he said.

“We arrived too late and the day after I saw the players tired in training so I would like to arrive against Untied with the average minutes in the legs of the players quite similar.

“I have a few ideas, thoughts… ridiculous ones against United but I didn’t watch their last games yet. I have to see the way they play at home and if they change something.

“I still have to review it.”

Guardiola has made big tactical calls against United in recent seasons deploying all three of Phil Foden, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez as a central striker.

In January 2020, City beat United in a Carabao Cup semi-final first leg without a recognised striker with De Bruyne admitting they had worked on the formation for just 15 minutes.

But Guardiola’s tweaks do not always come off, most famously against Lyon in the Champions League quarter final three years ago when three at the back backfired and the final in 2021 when he left out a defensive midfielder and lost to Chelsea.

“I love to overthink and create stupid tactics and, when we don’t win, I am punished,” Guardiola said of his tactical brainstorms.

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