Pep Guardiola has suggested Ruben Dias wasn't dropped for Nathan Ake in Manchester City's rout over Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday - but for Manuel Akanji.
Dias was a surprise omission in the City starting XI, in a team sheet that saw Kyle Walker return from injury at right-back. With John Stones injured, and Aymeric Laporte only fit enough for the bench, Guardiola chose a centre-back pairing of Akanji and Ake.
That meant Dias sat the game out, with Ake another returning from injury and impressing as City ran out comfortable 6-3 winners, going 4-0 and 6-1 ahead in the game. Explaining his selection after the match, Guardiola said his desire to have a left-footer alongside a right-footer was behind his selection.
That suggests that Ake was always going to play as the fittest left-footed player, with Guardiola then choosing the in-form Akanji over the usually-reliable Dias.
He said: "We need a right foot and a left foot (partnership) and Nathan I have confidence in him, all the actions in the first half he did it perfectly."
However, Guardiola wasn't completely impressed with his defence - especially the way they lost focus in the second half when 6-1 ahead to concede two late consolation goals.
"Yeah it was really good. Everyone watched it," he said. "There are a few things we have to improve, in the process we are losing some easy balls and we have to improve that, the simple things we are not doing well.
"But six goals vs United, who had come from four games winning, including Arsenal and Liverpool."
Earlier, Guardiola had explained how Rodri picked up an injury in training, while he is already without Stones for at least a fortnight due to a hamstring problem. Kalvin Phillips is also out, hoping to recover from shoulder surgery before the World Cup.