Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola defended goalkeeper Zack Steffen after making several mistakes that led to the 3-2 defeat against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals.
The US men’s national team player replaced starting goalkeeper Ederson in the starting lineup, earning crucial minutes in the build up to the World Cup. But his dream quickly turned into a nightmare in the 17th minute.
In an attempt to replicate Ederson’s goal line clearance, Steffen stalled to subsequently allow Sadio Mane to close down and divert the ball into the net, but Guardiola insists this was an isolated incident.
“I haven’t spoken to Zack. It was an accident but we need him to try because that’s how we play our football. It was an accident, it happens. Edi was close in the last game as well. We need that to create our football we use our keeper to move our opponents into different situations,” said Guardiola after the match.
“I’m pretty sure Zack didn’t want to do it. Sometimes the strikers miss in front of the keeper, other times the keeper makes a mistake. It was a decision [to play him] from days ago. It is unfair when you play cups and you don’t play them. He deserves to play and after that he had a good game. He made good saves and is an exceptional keeper.”
Steffen stood as one of the seven changes the manager made from the Manchester City side that started in their Champions League match at Atletico Madrid earlier on the week.
“We had a lot of fixtures and travels and a lot of important games and that’s why I picked the team,” Guardiola admitted.