Guardiola blows up red storm
Pep furious over seventh sending off, says he’s begun his goodbyes
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.”
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.