"Hang on a second" - Delaney and Kerr clash on Pep's and City's failings
It's hard to believe it that, in seven years at Manchester City, after millions upon millions of transfer splashes and with one of the best squads ever assembled, Pep Guardiola has only led the team to one Champions League final.
That was last year, it was a game they lost and after yet another collapse on the continent, questions are inevitably being asked of the Spaniard and his team. Real Madrid rained on Pep's parade this time around and, speaking on Virgin Media Sport, it was the former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr who led the inquisition.
Kerr scratched his head over Pep's substitutions. He wondered why, given the consistency he's shown and all the experience he has, Raheem Sterling wasn't brought on earlier. He questioned the decision, when control and composure was needed, to take off Kevin De Bruyne in the 72nd minute of the game. His mind surely turned to last year when, as a bolt from the blue, Pep dropped Fernandinho and Rodri for the final and we all know how that one ended.
Sitting down beside him, Damien Delaney was more inclined to praise Madrid than to blame Pep and City but Kerr wasn't buying what the Cork man was selling. Because it all points to the fact that, in this competition, Pep has repeatedly been too smart for his own good.
"You look at the two goals that were scored, nobody did anything wrong," said Delaney.
"I'm not so sure no-one did anything wrong for the goals," responded Kerr, quick as a flash.
"Grealish backed off, are you telling me he was touch tight? he's not a good enough defender and Cancelo was very loose on Benzema. Look at him.
"Hang on a second," said Delaney, the tone of his voice rasing. It's a good goal. Of course you can pick the bones out of it, but there's no catastrophic collapse. When he made the substitutions, the game was dying out. They've took the sting out of it, they're in control of their emotions, everything is going fine. I'd talk more about Madrid than about City..."
But Kerr wouldn't lie down.
"I'll tell you another change he should have made too, he should have brought Sterling on earlier for Foden. Sterling has been a consistently important player for them. You have to look at it, over the years, they have gotten done in this competition.
"If you go down to why they didn't finish it off, some of them lacked the steel that was required to get it over the line. I think Grealish was poor for that first goal. I think Zinchenko looked week. Sterling was brought on too late. Without that real centre forward, the whole balance of the team is off as well."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 4, 2022