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Ferdinand SLAMS Pep's decision to change formation in Man City's defeat to Lyon



Ferdinand SLAMS Pep's decision to change formation in Man City's defeat to Lyon



Rio Ferdinand has slammed Pep Guardiola for changing his tactics and shape as Manchester City once again exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

Moussa Dembele came off the bench for the Ligue 1 side to score twice in nine minutes to ensure City were dumped out of the Champions League at the same stage for a second straight year following their defeat to Tottenham in last season's competition.

Questions were raised from the start about boss Pep Guardiola's decision to change to a 3-5-2 formation with wing backs for the quarter-final in Lisbon, with Fernandinho accompanying Eric Garcia and Aymeric Laporte in a back three.

The tactic - which diverted from City's usual 4-3-3 setup - saw creative forces such as Riyad Mahrez and the outgoing David Silva on the bench for the first half, while Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden did not feature at all despite the latte's crucial role in overcoming Real Madrid in the second leg of the previous round.

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And speaking to BT Sport after City's shock defeat, former United defender Ferdinand criticised Guardiola - whose wait for a first Champions League title with City and his first since 2011 continues - for the drastic and seemingly negative changes.

'Every game since the restart in the Champions League the subs have had an impact, it's so important now with the depth of your squad,' Ferdinand said.

'He's going to have to look at himself for his selection and how he changes his formation.

'The most creative players were off the pitch and they looked much better when Mahrez came on.'

Former England centre-back Ferdinand also laid into City's defensive line, which was caught out for two of Lyon's goals, and believes the defeat will leave them with even more questions to answer.

'The high line was suicidal, it was the crux of their downfall. Indecision and naivety.

'This will definitely hang over them, they've got soul searching to do. They'll dust themselves down and they have to go again.'

Former City goalkeeper Joe Hart also criticised his former side for employing a conservative approach and is fearful of the mental impact this will have on Guardiola's squad.

'Whatever we're gonna say about Pep, he usually backs it up in medals,' Hart said.

'He's there to win the Champions League, it's not an easy thing to do. Maybe they tried to go too far with being conservative. It needed a different approach.

'I think City genuinely believed before this game [that there was no curse on them in the quarters] but after this... it's going to be a hard one to recover from.'

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