Ilkay Gundogan has hinted that he disagreed with Pep Guardiola over how he was used in the Champions League final.
Manchester City had the chance to win their first ever Champions League title last month, facing Chelsea in an all-English final. However, Guardiola’s gamble in midfield did not pay off and they ultimately lost 1-0. A single goal from Kai Havertz was the difference, putting City’s European dreams on hold.
The main talking point from a City perspective afterwards was Guardiola’s selections in the middle of the park. Rather than using Fernandinho or Rodri at the base of their midfield, he opted to drop Gundogan back, with Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden deployed either side of him and Kevin de Bruyne in a false nine role.
It was a questionable decision when Gundogan had thrived in a more advanced midfield role all season. In fact, he was their top scorer in 2020-21 with 17 goals in all competitions.
Instead, he was restricted with more defensive duties. While he has occupied such territory in the past, it was an unexpected transition for him to adapt to on such short notice.
City’s midfield was cut out by a Mason Mount pass for what turned out to be the winning goal, showing why a more naturally defensive body there may have been beneficial.
Now, Gundogan has appeared to suggest that Guardiola got it wrong when placing him in the role he did.
“A few days before the final, it became apparent that there is a special idea in the head of the manager,” he said at a press conference with Germany, as quoted by Christian Falk of Bild.
“I tried to make the best of it. It should not be.”
City to stick with Gundogan
Meanwhile, Sky Sports claim that City have no plans to sell Gundogan this summer despite rumours of a move away.
There was recently a suggestion that Barcelona had turned their attention to the German after missing out on ex-Liverpool man Georginio Wijnaldum.
Gundogan, who is 30, only has two years remaining on his contract. But Sky believe City are not panicking and are ready to ward off any interest in him.
The report denies previous claims that the central midfielder had stalled on a new deal. In fact, there are currently no talks planned for him this summer.
Instead, City will stick with him into next season. Only later will his future become clearer, but it seems he will be wearing a sky blue shirt again.