Pep Guardiola explains reason behind Kevin De Bruyne bust-up during Liverpool draw | Football | Sport


has admitted that his angry exchange with on Sunday erupted because the midfielder did not want to be substituted. De Bruyne missed the final half-hour of City’s tense 1-1 draw with after Guardiola opted to make a bold tactical change.

De Bruyne made his feelings known to Guardiola after seeing his number held aloft on the Anfield touchline. The pair engaged in a prolonged, heated discussion in full view of the Anfield crowd, which later continued on the substitutes’ bench.

The high-stakes Premier League encounter was finely balanced by the time of the change, with John Stones’ opener – which was assisted by De Bruyne’s clever corner – cancelled out by Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty.

City saw out the final stages despite relentless Liverpool pressure throughout the second half, and they nearly stole all three points for themselves when Jeremy Doku rattled the post.

After the full-time whistle, Guardiola told beIN Sports that substituting De Bruyne was purely tactical. And when asked whether the 32-year-old’s anger stemmed from a reluctance to come off, he said: “Yeah. I like it, I like it.”

In his post-match press conference, Guardiola added: “He’s happy now. I like it that he was upset. He has a chance next game to prove how wrong I was.” De Bruyne is normally one of the first players City turn to when in a difficult moment, owing to his huge influence at the business-end of the pitch.

City have a capable deputy in Stefan Ortega, and he could be required to anchor the reigning treble winners through a tense Premier League title race if Ederson’s knock proves to be a long-term issue.

Guardiola’s side are now third in the table and one point off the top with 10 games to play. On Liverpool’s second-half onslaught, the former Barcelona manager said: “To avoid [a game like that] we needed more control, more passes, and we could not do it.”

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