Man City named just six subs Saturday; Is furor warranted?

Richard Sellers/PA via AP
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Pep Guardiola has been hammered by some members of the media for naming six substitutes — one less than allowed — in Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.

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City had injuries or illness limited its senior players: David Silva, Leroy Sane, John Stones, Fabian Delph, Benjamin Mendy, and Gabriel Jesus.

Amongst the six subs were surnames like Adarabioyo, Zinchenko, and Diaz. Seldom used Danilo started (and scored).

Still, City had 71 percent possession against Burnley, out-shooting the Clarets 20-8 with a corner kick advantage of 13-3. They manufactured numerous chances including a mind-boggling Raheem Sterling miss, but dropped points when Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored late.

The unifying thread in the outcry was that Guardiola should’ve handed an opportunity to a youngster from within Man City rather than use lack of players a perceived excuse.

I’m of two minds on the matter. Of course it would’ve been nice for Guardiola to hand a kid an opportunity, but it’s also not for the media to demand when a player get his opportunity. Should just any body, or personality, be placed on the bench when only three subs can be used in the game? Not if they haven’t met the boss’ standards for inclusion.

On the other hand, or maybe it’s the same hand, using the “I don’t have enough players” when City is one of the clubs in the world to redefine fiscal power in soccer? It’s pretty tone deaf. The fact that Guardiola doesn’t care about that is his prerogative, and a part of what makes him great. That doesn’t make it much more digestible for anyone outside of possibly the City supporter base.