Pep Guardiola explains Kalvin Phillips omission in Man City Community Shield defeat to Liverpool

Manchester City’s summer signing didn’t get a run out during Saturday’s loss in Leicester.

Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City’s other midfielders were more suited to play in Saturday’s 3-1 Community Shield loss to Liverpool, than Kalvin Phillips.

The summer signing, who arrived from Leeds United last month, wasn’t selected to make his competitive debut for the club, unlike Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.

Phillips was an unused substitute at the King Power Stadium, with Guardiola starting Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in midfield, while Ilkay Gundogan was introduced in the second half.

Phillips watched from the sidelines as City lost to Liverpool. Credit: Getty.

It meant City’s new No.4 had to watch from the sidelines as Liverpool beat the Premier League champions to lift the Community Shield.

Speaking after the game, Guardiola implied those midfielders who did feature were more equipped to play given they’re up to speed with his tactical approach, while Phillips is still adjusting to a new style after just a few weeks at the club.

“No, he has confidence. He can play, he is ready to play,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference. “But he arrived just two, three weeks [ago].

Guardiola insisted Phillips will help the team this season. Credit: Getty.

“We have Rodri and Bernardo and Gundogan and they know [how we play]. Step by step he [Phillips] will get it. He’s an incredibly nice person and the season is so long. Many games he is going to help us.”

Guardiola not worried by fitness levels

In Leicester, City certainly didn’t look at their fluid best, unsurprising given it was just their third warm-up match of the summer.

But Liverpool looked sharper and quicker than their rivals, something which could be a slight concern for Guardiola ahead of City’s opening clash of the Premier League season against West Ham United on Sunday.

However, the 51-year-old said he is not worried and feels the fitness levels will come over the next few weeks.

“Where are where we are,” Guardiola explained. “A week ago when we play against Bayern Munich, we made an incredible performance and today we did many good things.

“So, I don’t feel [worried]. We know each other quite well, but at the end, the games against West Ham and Bournemouth will dictate how are our [fitness] levels and how we do. The process that we do not perfect, we will correct and we will improve [on].”