PEP GUARDIOLA 'stole' the Champions League crown from Manchester City with his bizarre team selection, according to Lothar Matthaus.
The Etihad giants' wait for a first European Cup continues after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in Porto on Saturday night.
But Germany legend Matthaus has claimed the blame falls solely at the feet of Guardiola for his questionable pre-game tinkering.
The City boss opted to play three attack-minded midfielders in Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden.
That meant both Rodri and Fernandinho were left on the bench, despite at least one playing almost every game all season.
And Matthaus reckons leaving out the midfield anchor cost them dearly as Kai Havertz's goal saw Chelsea crowned champions for the first time since 2012.
Matthaus told Sky Germany: “With his line-up he stole the Champions League from the club and the fans.
"[Guardiola] has to rightly listen to the harsh criticism from all sides.
“I am sure that there will be internal discussions about whether to part with him.
"The players will doubt him since that final."
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Matthaus continued: “He had to try something again, present an imaginary ingenuity at the worst possible moment and totally deserved to lose.
“How can you play without a defensive midfielder in the most important game in club history?
"[The player] who was on the pitch in almost every game of the season, who ensures the balance, who gives everyone involved the necessary security…
“Why did he leave Rodri and/or Fernandinho out, start six attacking players and also play without a centre-forward?”
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