Pep Guardiola says his decision to name six substitutes against Burnley was a question of timing rather than a form of protest.
After the Manchester City manager failed to fill his bench for last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, the move was criticised by pundits including Gary Neville.
"I think it's a joke, I absolutely think it's a joke," former Manchester United defender Neville told Sky Sports.
City were without Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and John Stones due to injury, with Guardiola citing a late withdrawal from David Silva for his choice to name a squad of 17.
"I think it's the first time in my life but all the players were injured, believe me," Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
"David trained with us that day. On that day, at four in the afternoon, he did a training session. That's why I did not call another player.
"During the training session he said he wasn't ready and after that I said, 'Go to the second team', but in one hour and a half the second team were going to play a game.
"So I thought I am not going to call a player to go to the bench when normally the substitute is Brahim [Diaz] or maybe Yaya [Toure] or another one.
"That was the reason why. Normally, of course, you would have 18 players. It was the first time in my life, it was an exception.
"If the training session had been at 10 in the morning, 11 in the morning it would have been 18 players. But it is not a big issue, it's okay."
And Guardiola hit out at Neville, who was in charge of Valencia for four months before being sacked by the LaLiga club in his sole managerial job to date.
"He has to know this guy, the pundit, he has to know my job is serious," Guardiola said of Neville's comment.
"Never is it a joke. My job is so serious. He should know that because he was a manager for a short time."
Asked if he would consider naming a squad short of the full complement again, Guardiola added: "I don't know. Management is not a book, where every time you have to do the same things.
"Sometimes I speak to the team in one way, the other week in another way. All the other managers are the same. It is not a book where we have to follow the rules.
"Of course, the prestigious pundit [Neville] can say whatever he wants, but I take the decisions."
City welcome Leicester City to the Etihad Stadium, but Silva could again be absent due to injury.
"He had a tough kick against West Brom and here it is painful," Guardiola said. "It's not a big problem, but it's a kick where you need time.
"He trained today but he doesn't feel right and I would prefer he recovers. He is so important for us."
With City without Silva and Sane, a move for Riyad Mahrez failed at the end of the January transfer window.
The Foxes winger subsequently missed Leicester's two matches, but Guardiola refuted claims his side were to blame for the situation.
"Leicester came to pick up Kelechi [Iheanacho], we did it," Guardiola said.
"In all the transfers, clubs call the clubs. It's simple like that. After that we are not involved in anything.
"It's a decision for the player and for the club. Not for Manchester City.
"I wish as soon as possible [Mahrez] can come back and play because he is an extraordinary player."
15. August 2018
|Foley not convinced by reports All Blacks will drop Barrett|
|Zaha signs Crystal Palace extension|
|Burnley midfielder O´Neill makes A-League loan move|
|Godin yet to renew with Atletico Madrid amid transfer interest|
|Federer ´feeling better every day´ after Wimbledon disappointment|
|Kante comfortable with surprise new Chelsea role|
|Rugby Championship 2018: The numbers behind New Zealand´s dominance|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Bale ready to be Madrid´s shining light after five years in Ronaldo´s shadow|
|Rodgers unimpressed by absence of ´fit´ Boyata|
|Braves´ Acuna Jr. has arrived as a true MLB star|
|LA Galaxy 2 Colorado Rapids 2: Jackson´s deflected strike sees spoils shared|
|Victory offer postponed retirement, says Honda|
|Kyrgios forgets tennis shoes, Federer back in business|
|Williams knocked out as Garcia and Pliskova advance in Ohio|
|Kvitova sees off Serena in Cincinnati classic|
|Federer dispatches Gojowczyk in Cincinnati|
|Stead succeeds Hesson as New Zealand coach|
|Duminy encouraged despite South Africa´s mixed results|
|Thiem withdraws from Cincinnati Masters|
|Edwards joins Ospreys in consultancy role|
|Former Arsenal and Barcelona player Song joins Sion|
14. August 2018
|I´m very happy with what I have - Spalletti not desperate for Modric|
|Roethlisberger evaluated for concussion after practice|
|Brady ´absolutely´ expects to face Eagles|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Reasons for optimism and concern for Australia|
|Wentz ´gonna be close´ for Eagles opener|
|Cleveland ´victory fridges´ to unlock beer if Browns finally win|
|England´s Watson suffers injury setback|
|Mariners reinstate Cano after 80-game suspension|
|AEK Athens 2 Celtic 1 (3-2 agg): Rodgers´ men dumped out of Champions League|
|Alonso to leave F1: Paddock reacts to Spaniard´s exit|
|Roma sign midfielder N´Zonzi from Sevilla|
|Alonso to leave F1: Who will replace Fernando at McLaren?|
|Extraordinary Zidane is in Real Madrid´s past - Lopetegui|
|Alonso to leave F1: Then and now - how the grid, teams and calendar have changed since 2001|
|Wawrinka and Azarenka receive US Open wildcards|
|Parma sign Napoli pair Inglese and Grassi on loan|
|Sandakan castles Proteas before Sri Lanka squeeze home|
|Ronaldo sale won´t stop Real Madrid winning - Ramos|
|Predators sign Ryan Ellis to eight-year, $50M contract|
|Curran, Woakes, Rashid - who makes way for Stokes in England´s Test XI?|
|Griezmann well positioned for Ballon d´Or, says Simeone|
|Criscito: I was on Genoa bridge shortly before collapse|
|Alonso to leave F1: How the Spaniard´s numbers stack up to the greats|
|Rookie LB Roquan Smith finally signs Bears contract|
|De Villiers enjoying relief from ´unbearable´ Proteas pressure|
|Fernando Alonso to leave F1|
|Spalletti extends Inter contract|
|Godin, Koke, Griezmann and Juanfran named Atletico Madrid captains|
|Ronaldo out of hospital after illness|
|Fury: Beating Wilder and Joshua ´very easy´|
|Dickinson retires to take up academy coaching role|
|Cricket the ´sole focus´ for Stokes as he returns to England squad|
|Cheryshev moves to Valencia on loan|
|Mandzukic retires from Croatia duty after World Cup|
|Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray|
|Tottenham issue new stadium update and apology to fans|
|Chelsea flop Bakayoko moves to AC Milan on loan|
|Gabi urges Al Sadd team-mate Xavi to play on|
|Ronaldo leads UEFA Goal of the Season nominees|
|Federer: Djokovic could be caught up in US Open pressure|
|Ronaldo to Juventus a huge boost for Serie A – Matthaus|
|Werner would welcome Ozil Germany return|
|´Perfectionist´ Serena admits to ´unrealistic´ expectations in tennis and motherhood|
|Klopp praises Deschamps and his ´boring´ France|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Bale or Griezmann - Who will step into Ronaldo´s breach as Messi´s main rival?|
|Woods winning 15th major would be greatest comeback in sport – Faldo|
|Retiring Storm great Hoffman not giving up on Finals dream|
|Folau won´t change aerial approach in All Blacks showdown|
|Racism behind Sterling criticism, says ex-Arsenal star Wright|