Pep Guardiola accused of disrespecting Man City's academy by naming six substitutes at Burnley
Pep Guardiola was accused of disregarding Manchester City's array of young players after naming only six substitutes for their trip to Burnley, with Gary Neville branding the decision a 'joke'.
The Premier League leaders were deprived of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus due to injury, failed with a deadline day move for Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez while David Silva was also ruled out.
Teams are permitted seven substitutes for Premier League games, but the Man City manager told Sky Sports 'we don't have any more' when asked about his decision to pick six.
A youth-team player would normally be called up in these circumstances, but City's elite development squad played Swansea City on Friday night and Guardiola did not want to deprive another youngster of playing time.
Sky Sports pundit Neville said: "I think it's a joke, I absolutely think it's a joke"
"If you're a youth team manager at Manchester City, ring him up and ask which kid deserves that boost. Who has been playing well this season and who has worked hard?
"Forget the second team. Even if they played yesterday, bring one and put them on the bench. Bring a kid to travel with the team, help the kit man and put him on the bench to have the experience of being in a Premier League game. Give someone a boost at the club.
"If you're the Academy or reserve team manager at Manchester City you must think 'I'm wasting my time'. Forget the fact they've spent however much money, six players on the bench… to me it's like a protest."
Guardiola, as well as Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, have called for referees to protects players from dangerous challenges following recent bad tackles by West Brom's Matt Phillips and Cardiff City's Joe Bennett on City players.
City also failed to purchase attacking reinforcements in January, with long-term target Alexis Sanchez joining rivals Manchester United and Leicester standing firm on Mahrez.
There is unlikely to be much sympathy for City's predicament, who spent £57 million on centre-back Aymeric Laporte and sit 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League.