Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has played down his influence on Gael Clichy’s roving opener in Wednesday’s 2-1 EFL Cup win over Swansea City.
Left-back Clichy made a rare appearance on the scoresheet when he sprung up on the right-hand side of the penalty area to send a deflected shot past Kristoffer Nordfeldt at the Liberty Stadium.
Guardiola’s trademark flowing football has been in evidence during City’s nine wins from as many competitive matches under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, while bringing Clichy and his fellow full-backs into central midfield on occasion has caught the eye as a tactical innovation.
Nevertheless, he dismissed suggestions Clichy’s raid into the Swansea box was part of any grand plan on his part.
“That is not my philosophy,” Guardiola said. “The left-back scoring in the position of the right winger – no.
“But football is football and they have to move sometimes. Gael’s instinct is go there.
“It’s important if one player goes there that another has to cover his position. When this happens it’s not a big problem, but that is not normal.”
David Silva is poised to return to the City squad for Saturday’s Premier League re-run of the midweek cup clash, which prompted Guardiola to praise one of his less storied midfield performers.
The player in question, Fernando, made his second competitive start of the season and impressed despite being rushed back to action in order to give the likes of Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne a break.
“Fernando made an amazing effort,” Guardiola said. “He was injured in the last two weeks and we needed him in that game.
“He didn’t play in the best physical condition, but he played a fantastic, fantastic game.
“We had a lot of problems with midfield players because we don’t have them.
“Fabian [Delph] is injured and Gundogan, Fernandinho and Kevin need to have a rest because of a lot of games in the last month, month and a half.”
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