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Sport: Pep Guardiola defends Man City team selection after Liverpool loss

Man City manager Pep Guardiola shows no signs of feeling pressure

  Man City manager Pep Guardiola shows no signs of feeling pressure City are one point ahead of Liverpool with eight games remaining going into the fixture at Etihad Stadium and Guardiola stressed that he will never deviate from his renowned style of possession-based football. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: 'We train today to sit back for 90 minutes [vs Liverpool], to stay at 0-0, 0-0, 0-0. 'No, never in my life I play to draw, we play to be ourselves. We prepare different to any other team. Our build-up, final-third, pressing.

Pep Guardiola insisted he had no regrets for the team he selected at Wembley and refused to pin any blame on reserve goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

Guardiola made seven changes to the side that had drawn 0-0 with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday to progress in the Champions League, one of the most notable being resting Ederson for Steffen, who plays most domestic cup competitions.

Steffen was culpable for Liverpool’s second goal, as his poor touch allowed Sadio Mane to charge him down and punish him to maximum effect. The United States international - who also had questions to answer about allowing a volley from Mane to slide past him on the cusp of half-time - was noticeably shattered at the final whistle and was consoled by Ruben Dias on the pitch.

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Man City lost in the FA Cup semi-finals but Pep Guardiola did not regret his team selection © Provided by Daily Mail Man City lost in the FA Cup semi-finals but Pep Guardiola did not regret his team selection Zack Steffen made a vital error in the first half but Guardiola refused to blame his goalkeeper © Provided by Daily Mail Zack Steffen made a vital error in the first half but Guardiola refused to blame his goalkeeper

Guardiola said: 'I have a lot of confidence in my players. We had a lot of fixtures and travels and a lot of important games and that’s why I picked the team.

‘The first goal (from Ibrahima Konate) was a set-piece, where Liverpool are so strong and score many goals, and the second was an accident. Then we conceded a goal in the last minute of the first half, but afterwards we showed incredible pride.


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‘We didn’t look tired after we scored because football is about momentum. We had the most clear chances and we scored goals. It is not easy to do that against Liverpool. We fought to the end and showed our pride.’

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On Steffen, Guardiola added: ‘It was an accident but we need him to try because that’s how we play our football.

‘I spoke to the team in general but it was an accident, it happens. Edi was close (to making a mistake) in the last game as well. It happens. We need that to create our football. Of course you should review if it happens quite often but we use our keeper to move our opponents into different situations.

‘I would say that the average, the way we create our options, these things can happen. It is an accident. I’m pretty sure Zack didn’t want to do it. Sometimes the strikers miss in front of the keeper, other times the keeper makes a mistake.’

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Manchester City and Liverpool lock horns for the second time in a week in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The two sides continued their battle for Premier League supremacy with a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday and they now meet again for a place in next month's FA Cup final. © Associated Press City and Liverpool are separated by a solitary point at the top of the Premier League and there is also the mouth-watering prospect of a Champions League final showdown - should they overcome Real Madrid and Villarreal respectively in the semis.

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