Pep Guardiola reveals reason why he subbed Kevin De Bruyne that led to furious reaction from Belgian star

PEP GUARDIOLA has revealed why subbed Kevin De Bruyne and insists that he is “happy” with the star’s angry reaction to be replaced.

The Belgian playmaker, 32, started the crunch Premier League title showdown that saw his Manchester City draw 1-1 at LIverpool.

Pep Guardiola has explained why he took off Kevin De Bruyne


Pep Guardiola has explained why he took off Kevin De BruyneCredit: SKY SPORTS
The Belgian star was fuming when he was subbed off at Anfield


The Belgian star was fuming when he was subbed off at AnfieldCredit: AP

De Bruyne got an assist in the first half of the clash with a sharp corner for John Stones‘ opener.

City goalie Ederson then gave away a penalty for a foul on Darwin Nunez and Alexis Mac Allister converted in the 50th minute.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds began to push forward and take control as they went in search of a winner, which resulted in Guardiola making a tactical switch.

Defensive midfielder Mateo Kovacic was introduced off the bench in the 69th minute in place of De Bruyne, a move that shocked many supporters as well as the player himself.

He made his feelings known as he started arguing with his boss on the touchline for several moments before then having a heated exchange with members of the coaching staff.

Things looked to have calmed down as De Bruyne sat amongst the other City players on the bench, but not for long.

Guardiola went over to him minutes later and took a seat beside him on the bench, but the pair continued their frank exchange of words once again as De Bruyne was spotted gesturing with his hand to somewhere on the pitch.

But the Cityzens manager was adamant he had no issues with his top talent afterwards.

Guardiola said: “I’m happy to see that. I like it if he’s upset, it’s good. He’s happy now.


“I knew what we were missing, we missed keeping the ball. After (he went off) we did it better. But, listen, Kevin… what can I say for Kevin… we need him and he is important.”

He then said that playing at Anfield against Liverpool was “like a tsunami” after the Reds flooded the midfield and created numerous chances after half time.

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And that it led to him making the controversial change.

Guardiola added: “We started really well even before the goal and played with a huge personality.

“After the first half it was difficult because they have (Wataru) Endo and Mac Allister, so they have extra passers and quality to play whereas before was more direct.

“In the second half, in that stadium… you don’t have time. We gave away the penalty and sooner or later, for 15 or 20 minutes, it feels like a tsunami! Oh my god, it’s coming for everybody, they have the ball and everything.

“But after we had Mateo, especially when he came on, we could make extra passes. They are really strong in their pressing and counter-pressing, in this stadium it’s not easy. But never we stopped trying to play.

“With Mateo and John (Stones) and Rodri, we then had the quality to play and keep the ball.

“We had our chances, they had their chances. We want to keep the ball but sometimes you can’t, but they are the best team I have ever seen in the pressing.”

Klopp was also fuming afterwards as he confronted referee Michael Oliver at the end of the game to protest the decision to not give a penalty to the Reds at the end of the match.

Yesterday’s draw meant Arsenal were left top of the Premier League, level on points with Liverpool but crucially ahead on goal difference.

City are one point behind the other two but have an inferior goal difference.

The argument continued on the bench between De Bruyne and Guardiola


The argument continued on the bench between De Bruyne and GuardiolaCredit: SKY SPORTS

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