The 50 year-old Catalan coach surprised many supporters upon the release of the team news ahead of the clash in Porto by beginning the game with no natural defensive midfielder, and instead starting Ilkay Gundogan in the deeper role.
The German international had often been used in a more advanced midfield role throughout the Champions League campaign, and in their Premier League title-winning season - and used to great effect.
But the usage of Gundogan in a lone defensive midfield role left the squad wide open against Thomas Tuchel's side, in an area where many feel either Rodrigo or Fernandinho would have added some much-needed solidity.
Speaking while away with Germany on international duty for the 2020 European Championships, Ilkay Gundogan was asked on Pep Guardiola's decision to utilise him in a relatively unfamiliar role during the Champions League final.
The former Borussia Dortmund man certainly hinted at his surprise, and slight frustration at the lateness of a decision that he described as a 'special plan' from Pep Guardiola against Chelsea.
As per Christian Falk of BILD, Gundogan explained, “A few days before the [Champions League] final, it became apparent that there is a special idea in the head of the manager [Pep Guardiola]. I tried to make the best of it. It should not be."
Ilkay Gundogan has recently been linked with a high-profile move away from the Etihad Stadium this summer, with various claims suggesting that La Liga giants Barcelona had held talks with the player's representatives over the possibility of a move.
However, it now appears as though Manchester City themselves have briefed the media on the reality of the situation, as reports from all of Sky Sports, BBC, and the Manchester Evening News state that Etihad officials have no plans to sell the player this summer or open talks about a new contract, which still has two years to run.
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