Pep Guardiola explains decision to replace Bernardo Silva at half-time against Leeds

The update from the manager wasn’t good news for Manchester City fans.
Silva was replaced in the win over Leeds with ‘muscular niggles’. Credit: Getty.Silva was replaced in the win over Leeds with ‘muscular niggles’. Credit: Getty.
Silva was replaced in the win over Leeds with ‘muscular niggles’. Credit: Getty.

Pep Guardiola explained that he replaced Bernardo Silva due to ‘muscular niggles’ in the 7-0 victory over Leeds United.

The Manchester City No.20 put in a superb performance in the first half but was taken off at the break, in place of Ilkay Gundogan.

Many presumed it was to rest the Portuguese international and, prior to Tuesday, only three outfield players had registered more on-field minutes than Silva this term.

Silva was taken off in a league game for the first time since September. Credit: Getty.Silva was taken off in a league game for the first time since September. Credit: Getty.
Silva was taken off in a league game for the first time since September. Credit: Getty.

But speaking after the game, Guardiola revealed it was due to a slight soreness that the former Monaco man came off.

“He had muscular niggles, nothing injured but he was a little bit uncomfortable and at 3-0 [there’s] no risk,” explained Guardiola.

The City boss had said pre-match that Ferran Torres was the club’s only absentee, although Kyle Walker missed the Leeds game as he was ‘short of full fitness’, as per the club website.

Even Guardiola was impressed with City’s performance on Tuesday. Credit: Getty.Even Guardiola was impressed with City’s performance on Tuesday. Credit: Getty.
Even Guardiola was impressed with City’s performance on Tuesday. Credit: Getty.

Guardiola’s view on the game

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Guardiola explained a frustration from last season provided the catalyst for Tuesday’s sensational display.

“We did a really good game. We dropped five points last season against Leeds. We cannot forget it, with the same guys today, except Jack [Grealish],” said the ex-Barcelona boss.

“It was a good game. The stadium was phenomenal and when this happens the players feel it. Thank you so much to all of them. It was a pleasure.

“You have to do your job,” he added. “From the beginning we were committed. We did a good job.

“Leeds… ask all the teams how they struggle [to play them]. I saw the game against Chelsea and they deserved a point or more [for] how they fought.

“I know how good they are at doing what they do. They are unique. Doing what they do, they are the best. But the tempo and the patience we played [with] was good to win the game.”