Guardiola says Fernandinho-Rodri CB pairing helped build-up

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Pep Guardiola was willing to play with fire, and still got a clean sheet.

It was Ederson who often made sure the Manchester City manager didn’t get burned for his decision to play midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri at center back in a 2-0 defeat of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Crystal Palace 0-2 Man City ]

So how did Guardiola prepare for the decision to use the duo with John Stones not fully fit and Nicolas Otamendi picking up a midweek knock?

“Rodri did not train one day in that position,” he said. “The back four responded well I think.”

Cary Elwes double-take meme. Excuse us? Wow.

While the pair did have its share of dodgy moments at the back, Guardiola liked what they brought to the game.

“Our build-up was quicker because they have more intelligence and they pass the ball so well because they are central midfielders,” he said.

Guardiola was asked about City’s sensational second goal (above), as Raheem Sterling capped a neat team move with a superb scoop to David Silva for a fantastic finish.

“We enjoyed the second goal, it was nice,” he said. “But in the Premier League we have to score the third and fourth because it was difficult in the end with the pressure.”

Now City builds for a Champions League midweek match with Atalanta, where a win would put the Premier League champions on the verge of a knockout round berth and ease Pep’s lineup choices for the congested next few weeks.