Guardi­ola blows up red storm

Pep fu­ri­ous over sev­enth send­ing off, says he’s be­gun his good­byes

The Star Early Edition - - SOCCER - THE IN­DE­PEN­DENT

AFTER the sev­enth red card of Manch­ester City’s sea­son, Pep Guardi­ola de­fended his team’s dis­ci­plinary record, ar­gu­ing bizarrely that English foot­ball was against his style of foot­ball.

To com­pound the mood of anger and fa­tal­ism that sur­rounded Guardi­ola after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Burn­ley, NBC broad­cast an in­ter­view with him in which he talked openly of re­tire­ment once his three-year con­tract with Manch­ester City is up.

“I will be at Manch­ester for the next three sea­sons, maybe more,” said the City man­ager. “But I am ar­riv­ing at the end of my coach­ing ca­reer of this I am sure. I will not be on the bench when I am 60 or 65 years old. I feel the process of my good­bye has al­ready started.”

Fer­nand­inho’s straight red card for a wild tackle on Burn­ley’s Jo­hann Berg Gud­munds­son meant the mid­fielder will face a four-match ban. This was only the Brazil­ian’s third game back since be­ing sent off for push­ing Cesc Fabre­gas over an ad­ver­tis­ing hoard­ing at the end of City’s 3-1 de­feat by Chelsea at the be­gin­ning of last month.

The Burn­ley man­ager, Sean Dy­che, ar­gued that City should have been re­duced to nine men when Bacary Sagna kicked out at Ge­orge Boyd after Burn­ley had pulled a goal back.

In a terse and awk­ward press con­fer­ence, Guardi­ola seemed fu­ri­ous both at Fer­nand­inho’s dis­missal and ref­eree Lee Ma­son’s fail­ure to pro­tect his goal­keeper, Clau­dio Bravo, who dropped a high ball un­der pres­sure in the build-up to Burn­ley’s goal. He seemed to ar­gue that the world and es­pe­cially the world of Pre­mier League foot­ball, was gang­ing up against Manch­ester City.

“Ask the ref­eree not me,” was his re­sponse when asked about Fer­nand­inho, who has now been dis­missed three times in the space of six weeks. “We try to play foot­ball, right. My teams, al­ways in my ca­reer, try to play foot­ball. I can­not con­trol other cir­cum­stances.”

Guardi­ola was sar­cas­tic when pressed as to why there have been so many red cards – “from the team with most ball pos­ses­sion”.

He added: “It is al­ways our fault. It is al­ways City’s fault. I saw other games. All around the world the Burn­ley goal would be a foul on Clau­dio Bravo. All around the world the rules say the goal­keeper in the six-yard box can­not be touched.

“I saw it hap­pen to Maarten Steke­len­burg in the Everton v Mid­dles­brough game at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and it was the same – it was a goal. Okay, so I have to adapt and un­der­stand there are spe­cial rules in Eng­land. Now I have learned, we are go­ing to play.”

Dy­che, how­ever, thought Manch­ester City for­tu­nate to have only one man dis­missed. Sagna re­ceived a yel­low card for kick­ing out at Boyd but the Burn­ley man­ager thought it should have been a straight red.

“It is a send­ing-off be­cause he swipes out at Boyd who is just try­ing to get the ball to the cen­tre-cir­cle.

“I can only as­sume the lines­man didn’t see enough of it to re­alise it was an ac­tual kick-out.”

Guardi­ola said he had rested rather than dropped Ser­gio Aguero, whose goal from the sub­sti­tutes’ bench ul­ti­mately proved de­ci­sive.

“He was a long time out be­cause of other cir­cum­stances,” said Guardi­ola, re­fer­ring obliquely to the four-match ban the Ar­gen­tine had served for a red card against Chelsea. “He played 90 min­utes at Liver­pool after four games out.”

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

SAR­CAS­TIC: Manch­ester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola is livid over Fer­nand­inho’s dis­missal and whistle­man Lee Ma­son’s lack of pro­tec­tion for his goal­keeper, Clau­dio Bravo, dur­ing their match against Burn­ley on Mon­day. City won 2-1.

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