Kevin De Bruyne has said it is not unlike Pep Guardiola to spring a surprise on his players after the Manchester City coach left Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and David Silva out of his starting XI to face Real Madrid in the Champions League.
City came from behind to beat 10-man Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of the teams' round-of-16 tie on Wednesday, with Guardiola also employing an unfamiliar formation in an effort to earn victory.
Striker Gabriel Jesus, who netted the equaliser on 78 minutes after Isco's goal for Madrid on the hour mark, started the match on the left wing, while De Bruyne spent periods of the game up front alongside usual midfield partner Bernardo Silva. Aguero, Sterling and David Silva all started on the bench at the Bernabeu.
"In four years with Pep, he sometimes surprises," De Bruyne said. "Sometimes players aren't told until the game what we need to do."
The City captain assisted Jesus' equaliser before providing the winner from the penalty spot on 83 minutes, moments before Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red -- the 26th of his career at the club.
"There were some good and some lesser moments," De Bruyne said. "In a quality game like this, you'll struggle sometimes.
"It's a very good start. We struggled in the first 15 minutes, but you have to go through the storm.
"It was an even first half. We started the second half really well. Their goal came at a bad moment for us -- we were dominating.
"Our response was brilliant. It was a beautiful goal from Gabriel Jesus."
Madrid travel to Manchester for the second leg on March 17.
"We're only halfway there," De Bruyne said. "We have an important game at home in three weeks. Now we have to recover for Sunday's final [in the Carabao Cup against Aston Villa]."