Manchester City won the UEFA Super Cup – but manager Pep Guardiola is surely very unlikely to ever player Manuel Akanji in the ‘John Stones role’ again.
City triumphed in Athens over Sevilla, having shown good character to come from behind and win on penalties.
Youssef En-Nesyri put Sevilla ahead with a brilliant header. The Morocco international got between Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol and powered into the bottom corner, giving Ederson no chance.
City were poor on the ball and struggled to create meaningful chances with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.
But the in the second-half, Cole Palmer equalised with a header to further his case to stay at the Etihad Stadium this summer.
City won on penalties in the end.
But perfectionist Pep likely wouldn’t not have been happy with the display from his side.
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And the Spaniard is probably highly likely not to use Manuel Akanji in a hybrid role again any time soon…
A tough night for Manuel Akanji in Super Cup against Sevilla
Pep started Kyle Walker, Akanji, Nathan Ake and Gvardiol in defence last night.
It was going to be fascinating to see who, if anyone, would be the defender pushing into midfield, like Stones does so brilliantly.
It turns out that player last night was Akanji – and the Switzerland international struggled.
There were times where Akanji looked really uncomfortable.
He got caught on the ball a few times, and also did not really use it well when he got it, opting to play safe passes. Rarely did he break the lines.
It was a real surprise to see him play the full game, because it just didn’t seem to work and he was actually being exploited on occasion by Sevilla.
Pep surely won’t try Akanji in hybrid role again
Let’s get one thing clear; Akanji is an absolutely brilliant defender.
Last season he was outstanding for City, and he’s had many fantastic outings in a sky blue shirt.
But he doesn’t appear to be cut out for the hybrid role.
It is a very complex role, and if anything last night just showed how well Stones has done to look so good in it.
Akanji, sadly, looked like a fish out of water, and it’s hard to see Pep trying him there again.
It would be no surprise if Pep tries Gvardiol in the role, if Stones is not available.
The Croatian looked very good on the ball last night, and is more nimble than Akanji.