Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been accused of underestimating Chelsea’s competitiveness in last night’s Champions League final.
The Premier League champions were not at their best in the big game in Porto, and much has been made of Guardiola’s strange decision to line up without a defensive midfielder.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, former Chelsea star Alan Hudson believes Guardiola may have underestimated his opponents on the night, even if he’s made similar systems work before at Barcelona.
With hindsight, he did overthink it with his tactics; in reality he underestimated Chelsea’s all-round competitiveness, thinking it was going to be a game of complete possession,” Hudson said.
“But you have to fight to earn the right to play and City lacked that fight. The best Barcelona team played without a holding midfield player but their midfield grafted like Chelsea’s midfield. Whereas City left big gaps that allowed Chelsea to breathe easily. The goal was a perfect example: a simple pass from Mount – which they were raving about on BT – but it was like the Red Sea opening and inviting Chelsea in.
“Mount happened to be facing the right way, seeing it quickly and executing the pass at the right time. Mount is sacrificing a lot for Tuchel, with his work rate incredible, but he must be careful. He’s doing brilliantly but his work rate might come back to bite him – it’s called burnout.”
He added: “Watching Tuchel against Bayern in last season’s final compared to now, he has learned so much. PSG had so many world class players in that team, but although they put up a good fight in last season’s final they never put up a fight like Chelsea beating Manchester City three times on the spin.
“While so many fear Manchester City’s so-called invincibility, Tuchel came into this match with supreme confidence that Chelsea would be champions and when asked about last season you could see him thinking ‘that was another life’.”