Pep Guardiola has revealed he’s thinking about unleashing some “ridiculous” tactical ideas against Manchester United on Saturday.
Manchester City will have just 48 hours to prepare for the trip to Old Trafford following Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarterfinal against Southampton.
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But, speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Guardiola hinted he’s already plotting a surprise for Erik ten Hag.
“I would like to arrive against United with the average of minutes in the legs of the players quite similar because I have a few ideas, thoughts, ridiculous ones against United,” said Guardiola.
“I didn’t watch the last [United] games. I have to see the way they play at home [against Charlton on Tuesday] and if they change something. I have to still review it. That is why I don’t have a clear lineup against United.”
Guardiola has surprised United before when he benched both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus and played with a false No.9 for the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg at Old Trafford in January 2020, a game City won 3-1.
He also played without a holding midfielder for the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea in 2021 and against Chelsea last week, switched from his usual 4-3-3 formation in favour of a back three.
Guardiola also omitted both Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne from his line up ahead of the 4-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
“I would say the game against Chelsea I made a lot of changes for one reason; how tired I saw some players after the game [against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge],” he said.
“We arrived too late and in the training the day after I saw the players tired in training.”
City can book their place in the semifinals of the Carabao Cup with victory over Southampton on Wednesday and remain in the hunt for four trophies.
Guardiola’s team won a domestic treble in 2019 and Liverpool came within a whisker of winning an unprecedented quadruple last season but the City boss insists winning all four — the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup — in one campaign remains “almost impossible”.
“Every season we fight to go as far as possible in all four competitions, otherwise we will not win four Carabao Cups in five years,” said Guardiola.
“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to win it. It just means the next game after United, after Tottenham, whatever comes. When everyone is fit, now we have almost everyone fit, it is easier to do it. When you have less players fighting for four is almost impossible. No-one in the whole history has done it.”