Pep blows his top

> City man­ager gives stut­ter­ing team dress­ing down af­ter Saints draw

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

PEP GUARDI­OLA kept his Manch­ester City play­ers in the dress­ing room for nearly an hour af­ter a 1-1 draw with Southampton meant the club had now gone five games with­out a vic­tory de­spite the re­sult tak­ing them back to the top of the Pre­mier League.

The City man­ager in­sisted that he was not vent­ing his anger on a squad that started his first sea­son in charge at East­lands with 10 con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries.

But he was clearly frus­trated by a loss of form that has seen them beaten at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and held at home by Ever­ton and, now, Southampton, in their last three League out­ings.

“The red wine was good and I took a lit­tle bit longer with my glass,” joked Guardi­ola, who has also seen his team draw at Celtic and be beaten 4-0 away to for­mer club Barcelona dur­ing their cur­rent run, as he spoke to re­porters fol­low­ing Sun­day’s stale­mate.

“But we were to­gether and spoke but noth­ing spe­cial – just about what the sit­u­a­tion is we now have and we have to try and go up from this sit­u­a­tion.”

Sub­sti­tute Kelechi Iheana­cho at least sal­vaged a point for City and can­celled out a first-half open­ing goal from Nathan Red­mond.

“I was a foot­ball player, I know this can hap­pen,” said Guardi­ola when he fi­nally emerged from the City dress­ing room.

“In foot­ball, I have known for a long time, you are able to win 10 times in a row then you’re not able to win for five times.

“We have to ac­cept that when that hap­pens, ac­cept you have to re­turn to what you were do­ing be­fore. But I’m not a guy to get an­gry. I have to dis­cover the rea­son why this has hap­pened.”

Guardi­ola’s mood can­not have been helped by the fact that a bad er­ror by Eng­land de­fender John Stones – one sim­i­lar to that made by goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo in the mid­week loss to Barcelona – gifted Southampton their goal, al­though the Spa­niard in­sisted he had no prob­lem with such mis­takes.

“Peo­ple can talk about an own goal at Tot­ten­ham, Clau­dio in Barcelona or two missed penal­ties against Ever­ton but it’s not about that,” said Guardi­ola.

“It is easy for a man­ager to say that ex­cuse but it is be­cause of some­thing more, about the team, about how you re­act in these sit­u­a­tions.

“Right now, in this mo­ment, we’re just not in that rhythm we had be­fore. But the big dif­fer­ence be­tween us in the first half and sec­ond half was ob­vi­ous.

“The first half was a prob­lem, the sec­ond half the play­ers changed their men­tal­ity and were un­for­tu­nate they couldn’t win.”

“Five games with­out win­ning is be­cause some­thing hap­pened but we need to start from a bit be­low where we were and go up and up.”

Mean­while Southampton man­ager Claude Puel was de­lighted by the re­silience his side showed fol­low­ing their nar­row Europa League loss away to In­ter Mi­lan in mid­week.

“I’m happy of course for the point and also with the spirit,” he said. It was a sig­nif­i­cant game against a good team.” – AFP

Manch­ester City’ de­fender John Stones (cen­tre) cel­e­brates af­ter putting the ball in the net but the goal is ruled off­side dur­ing Sun­day’s English Pre­mier League foot­ball match against Southampton at the Eti­had Sta­dium . – AFPPIX

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