Pep Guardiola has no complaints about being forced to name an incomplete substitutes bench that included two goalkeepers during Manchester City’s dramatic 4-4 draw with Chelsea on Sunday.
The champions took only eight replacements to Stamford Bridge, amongst them reserve keepers Stefan Ortega and Scott Carson, as injuries limited the manager’s options.
Guardiola was without John Stones and Nathan Ake, with the latter having been ruled out as late as Friday, whilst Kevin De Bruyne remains a long-term absentee.
FULL-TIME | The points are shared in a thrilling draw 🤝
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 12, 2023
Yet City looked to have coped well without their missing trio and thought they had nicked three points late on in west London when Rodri’s effort deflected in off Chelsea’s Thiago Silva four minutes from time.
That was until former City man Cole Palmer levelled from the spot in the fifth minute of stoppage time after Armando Broja had been fouled by Ruben Dias.
Despite the enforced absences and dropped points, Guardiola said he was satisfied with the squad depth available to him.
“Kevin is long-term, John was injured unfortunately. Nathan was injured. The rest are OK,” he said.
“I like to work with a small (group). It’s so tough if five, six, seven players don’t play, they don’t like that. It’s what it is.
“If we have injuries, it’s unlucky, but we have done all the time.
“For many years we’ve had this type of squad.”
Guardiola said he felt his team put in a performance far better than in recent seasons at Stamford Bridge, despite Palmer – who left City for Chelsea in a £42million deal on the last day of the transfer window – coming back to haunt his former manager at the death.
It came after the visitors has twice led through Erling Haaland, who scored his 12th and 13th Premier League goals of the season, with Manuel Akanji also netting.
For Chelsea, Raheem Sterling also scored against the club with whom he won the league four times, with Silva and Nicolas Jackson also on target.
“I don’t remember a game where we’ve come here and had the chances that we had,” said Guardiola. “Even games where we’ve come here and won, last year for example was much, much worse than (Sunday).
“Even by a million times it was much worse than today, and we won 1-0. We tried, we created a lot of chances.
“The talent cannot be controlled sometimes. They are in a good process, their shape is really good, what they do.
“Give credit both teams. The game was tight. It was momentum for everyone, and momentum you can break. It’s a fair result.
“Nothing changed. Chelsea is Chelsea, one of the greatest teams in the last 20 years.
“I know how good they are. For us, it’s a good test. How long we didn’t lose, that’s a good sign.
“Today we didn’t lose, we (played) away. We take a good point, we created a lot of chances in the right moments.
“I think it was a fair result for both sides.”