Most managerial press conferences - Mick McCarthy and Carlos Carvalhal aside - are exceptionally boring, bar the odd swipe at a fellow manager or when Chris Smalling gets called 'Mike.' However, Pep Guardiola is not like other managers.
The Manchester City manager is generally well worth listening to and his passion for tactical innovations is of course renowned. Against the last three teams they've played (Chelsea, Arsenal and Wigan) City have used three different central defensive partnerships and Guardiola took some time in yesterday's pre-Basel press conference to explain why.
Vincent Kompany partnered Nicolas Otamendi for the two matches against Arsenal but on Sunday, Aymeric Laporte was preferred for the battle against Chelsea. It's a case of horses for course for Guardiola:
I'm going to tell you why, in that case against Chelsea. Chelsea sometimes play 5-4-1, sometimes play 5-3-2. If they play 3-2, maybe we can make a build up with three or we can defend with three at the back. And if we defend with three at the back, the left side, Laporte - because he is left-footed - is maybe better than Otamendi for example or John Stones in that side.
That's why, we didn't know if they'd played 5-4-1 or 5-3-2 so I said 'OK we can use Laporte in both systems and set up better.' That was in that game the reason why and maybe in another game there will be another one.
He added 'Sometimes when we play Nico [Otamendi] and Vincent, it's because they are both amazing at winning duels. Defensively, winning duels, both are perfect and in some games I need that.'
None of what he was saying is rocket science but it's odd to watch press conference and come out of it having genuinely learned something and been given some insight into what is influencing the manager's decisions.
More of this please. You can watch the full comments below.
— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) March 6, 2018