Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid: Pep Guardiola admits he ‘loves to overthink’ tactics

The Manchester City manager said he approaches games differently depending on the opponent.

Pep Guardiola has admitted he can sometimes overthink tactics, ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid.

Manchester City host the Spanish champions in the first leg of their quarter-final clash and will face a unique tactical approach from Diego Simeone.

Guardiola has often been accused of over-complicating his tactics in high-profile European games, such as last year’s final against Chelsea, when he dropped Rodri for the showpiece occasion in Porto.

Pep Guardiola has made some unexpected decisions in big games over recent years. Credit: Getty.

Concocting a plan to defeat Simeone will be at forefront of Guardiola’s mind, and speaking in his pre-match conference on Monday, the former Barcelona coach admitted he can become consumed with his approach to these games.

“In the Champions League, always I overthink, create new tactics and new ideas and tomorrow you will a see one,” the City manager told reporters, with a wry chuckle.

“I overthink a lot. It’s absolutely [fair], that’s why I’ve had very good results in the Champions League,” Guardiola continued.

“It would be boring, my job, if all the time I had to win the same way. Opponents have different ways to play. If people think I’ll approach it the same way as Atletico Liverpool, I don’t think about that.

“The movements of Liverpool are completely different than Atletico Madrid especially because every player is different, every player a has mother and father with different personalities. I have to adapt.

“That’s why I love to overthink with stupid tactics, and if I don’t win I look stupid. Tonight I will take inspiration and do incredible tactics tomorrow. We’ll play with 12 tomorrow.”

There’s a ‘misconception’ about Simeone’s tactics

Despite Guardiola and Simeone managing at the top level of European football over the last decade, the pair have only faced each other on three occasions, with having just two meetings in the Champions League.

It was Atletico who dumped Guardiola out of the competition at the semi-final stage in 2016, when he was in charge of Bayern Munch.

Guardiola has not faced Simeone in six years. Credit: Getty.

While Simeone’s tactics are often viewed as defensive and are more associated with football’s dark arts, City’s boss explained why, in his opinion, there is an unfair stereotype of the Argentinian’s set-up.

“Very often we do not play in the same country. In the Champions League we’ve met just once,” said Guardiola.

“I think after watching Atletico, there is a misconception about the way he plays. It’s more offensive than people could believe. He doesn’t want to take the risk in the build-up, but after they have quality and play really well in the final third.

“They don’t want to take risks, but when the ball is in halfway, the quality of the players they have and how competitive they are, they know it depends on the position of the ball and the movement. They know how they have to play in these moments.

“It depends on where the ball is, the moment of the game: winning or losing, last minutes or early minutes, beginning of the second half. In these moments they are really good.”