Owen Hargreaves lauds Pep Guardiola's half-time tactics amid comeback

Owen Hargreaves says Pep Guardiola’s half-time decision changed the game as Man City came back from 2-0 down to beat RB Leipzig 3-2

  • Man City came back to overturn a two-goal deficit to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 
  • Pep Guardiola made several changes at half-time following a poor first half 
  • Jeremy Doku had Trent Alexander-Arnold on toast for most of the game, how COULD Gary Neville make him man of the match? Listen to It’s All Kicking Off

Pep Guardiola’s half-time tactics during Man City’s comeback victory against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night have been lauded by Owen Hargreaves, after the Cityzens overturned a two-goal deficit to defeat the Bundesliga side 3-2. 

The Premier League outfit were stunned by their opponents in the first half, with Lois Openda capitalising on two defensive mistakes from Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias to score twice inside 33 minutes. 

It was a disappointing first 45 minutes, with City looking shaky at the back while the home side struggled to convert their chances. Guardiola opted to ring in the changes after half-time, bringing on Nathan Ake, Jeremy Doku and Julian Alvarez. 

City bounced back after the break, with Phil Foden and Erling Haaland linking up to pull a goal back in the 55th minute. The England midfielder would then score himself before Alvarez found the winner later in the second half. 

After the match, Hargreaves praised Guardiola’s decision to make changes to his team, claiming the Spaniard had recognised Leipzig were causing them issues in defence.  

Owen Hargreaves has said Pep Guardiola’s half-time tactics helped Man City claim a 3-2 comeback win against Leipzig on Tuesday

Speaking to TNT Sports, Hargreaves also lumped praise on Phil Foden for his excellent performance 

He added the decision to bring on Nathan Ake (left) and Julian Alvarez (right) helped City bounce back in the second half after going 2-0 down

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‘You’ve got to find a way to be effective,’ he said to TNT Sports. ‘City’s press is brilliant. Obviously they left spaces in behind. Pep knew they struggled in that first half and he made changes. 

‘Ake came on and tidied it up defensively and then similarly the result was never going to be that. 

‘Foden, Doku, Alvarez – they’ve got so much firepower at the top of the pitch.’

Joleon Lescott, also on punditry, agreed, lumping praise on Foden who instigated City’s first. 

‘It was needed, it wasn’t the kind of performance or game that we see City playing’ he said on Guardiola’s changes. ‘Phil Foden I thought was exceptional as well. Gets the ball in such tight areas and creates opportunities. 

‘From a Leipzig point of view they’ll be disappointed. They’re obviously not paying attention {for Haaland’s goal}. Because it wasn’t a great run.’

But it was that goal that set City off in the second half, with Foden taking a difficult touch before playing a superb ball forwards towards Haaland who advanced towards the Leipzig goal and fire in their first of the night.  

Hargreaves spoke of how important that moment was for Guardiola’s side, stating: ‘The first touch from Phil and the quick take from Haaland, once they got the first goal, it was game on. 

‘You can see him cheering the crowd on and they were always going to get more.’ 

Lescott, meanwhile, lauded the Norwegian for the strike, which made him the fastest player to score 40 goals in the Champions League. 

‘Yeah [the numbers are], very very ridiculous,’ Lescott said. ‘He [Haaland] is such a young player and we haven’t seen anyone do this but that understanding of where be and how to finish. I don’t even know how to describe that.’

City are unbeaten in their last five Champions League matches and with one game to go, they sit top of the group, six points clear of Leipzig in second place. 

Lois Openda had shocked City in the first half, capitalising on two defensive errors to score twice 

Haaland pulled one back for City after half-time, an important goal that spurred them on in the second term

Foden, who was a standout, scored their second before Julian Alvarez score the winner 

After the match, Guardiola gave an insight into his half-time tactics, before adding that his side can now focus on the Premier League.

‘We changed our press because it was not effective and we didn’t expect the way they played to be honest,’ the Spanish manager said. 

‘We changed a little bit, adjusted a few things and of course to score early helped a lot so we know we are able to do it, make comebacks and we did it.

‘We have won all the games so far. And it’s important we are qualified and now we can focus on the premier league.’


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It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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