Pep Guardiola explains Man City team selection is birthday 'present' for one player

Pep Guardiola has said that selecting Fernandinho in his Manchester City starting XI to face Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night is a birthday present for the Brazilian midfielder, while speaking to BT Sport.
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Pep Guardiola has said that selecting Fernandinho in his Manchester City starting XI to face Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night is a birthday present for the Brazilian midfielder, while speaking to BT Sport.

The Manchester City boss opted to start the club captain on his 36th birthday ahead of Spanish midfielder Rodrigo - who started in the first-leg at the Parc des Princes last Wednesday.

Fernandinho was one of two slightly surprising inclusions in the starting XI, as Oleksandr Zinchenko was preferred over Joao Cancelo at left-back - after the Portuguese failed to impress in last week's 2-1 win in the first-leg against the French outfit.

Speaking to BT Sport ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola discussed a number of topics including the Fernandinho, his approach to the game, and the absence of Kylian Mbappe from the PSG starting XI.


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On the topic of Fernandinho, Pep Guardiola revealed that it was his 'present' to the 36 year-old midfielder to start him in tonight's Champions League semi-final showdown.

Guardiola explained, "It's the birthday for Fernandinho, it's my present. Everyone is able to play, ready to play. I decide this line up for the composure, I don't know, I decide for these guys."

Despite the heavy rainfall and hail ahead of kick-off, which forced the match officials into a pitch inspection ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola reiterated how normal it is in Manchester to have adverse conditions one hour, and bright sunshine the next.

The Catalan boss said, "Don't worry, now the sun rises. This time, normally [after rain], 7PM in this city the sun rises."

As expected, Guardiola was also keen to reiterate his approach to Tuesday night's clash being to win the game at hand saying, "We try to win the game. We don't think about the result one week ago or the consequences, we play to win the game!"


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The big talking point ahead of kick-off were the fitness struggles of Kylian Mbappe, who missed the weekend's Ligue 1 clash through a calf problem, which has subsequently restricted him to starting the Champions League clash with PSG on the substitutes bench.

Nevertheless, Guardiola was keen to not underestimate the qualities of Mauro Icardi - who starts up front ahead of Kylian Mbappe for the French giants.

"Icardi moves really well in the box, on set pieces, strong in the air. He hasn't got the pace of Mbappe, who is unique in the world with his rhythm and movements, but Icardi can always score."


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