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Pep Guardiola explains why Fernandinho starts for Man City vs PSG and reacts to Kylian Mbappe omission

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City reacts during the Carabao Cup Final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on April 25, 2021 in London, England. 8,000 fans are due to watch the game at Wembley, the most at an outdoor sporting event in the UK since the coronavirus pandemic started in March, 2020. Each team has been given an allocation of 2,000 with the remaining tickets split between local residents and NHS staff. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Image source: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Pep Guardiola joked that he started Fernandinho in Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain because it is his birthday. Guardiola named Fernandinho and Aleks Zinchenko in his starting line-up in two changes from the first leg.

“It’s the birthday for Fernandinho, it’s my present,” Guardiola joked to BT Sport, as his captain turns 36 today. “Everyone is able to play, ready to play, decide this line up for the composure, I don’t know, I decide for these guys. We try to win the game, don’t think about the result one week ago or consequences, play to win the game.”

Reacting to the news that Mbappe was only fit enough to make the bench for PSG after a week of injury struggles, Guardiola said his replacement Mauro Icardi would show City different problems instead.

He said: “Icardi moves really well in the box, in set pieces, strong in the air. He has not the pace of Mbappe who is unique in the world with his rhythm and movements but Icardi can always score. In that level all the squads, players are good.”

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