Daily Star


Passionate Pep knows it’s hard to stay calm


PEP GUARDIOLA understand­s how players get wound up on the pitch – because he does the same himself on the sidelines.

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker and Brentford forward Neal Maupay come face to face again tonight, just two weeks after clashing when the champions won 3-1 at the Gtech Community Stadium.

England star Walker claimed Maupay made a disparagin­g remark about his children, after the rivals became embroiled in a heated exchange.

Maupay denied the allegation­s and Guardiola is confident there will be no lingering issue between the duo when the two teams clash at the Etihad.

But Guardiola empathises with players who lose their cool – the Spaniard has been booked five times himself this season and is just one more away from being hit with a two-match touchline ban.

Asked how he dealt with opponents trying to wind him up during his playing days, Guardiola said: “It depended on my mood. In my period in Barcelona, I am in history for having the record of the most yellow cards conceded.

“All the time it was for ‘talk, talk, talk.’ So it depends. Sometimes I controlled myself, sometimes I behaved crazy. People say, ‘Ah, he cannot control himself as a manager.’

“As a football player, I was the same. I don’t want it, but sometimes there are emotions and it happens. You know that.

“But this (incident between Walker and Maupay) is forgotten. It happened, I think they talked and that’s all.”

City lost ground in the title race with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea but Guardiola defended his players.

He added: “I know the standards we have created, for what we have done in the past.

“I understand the doubts of the people, but I’m more than satisfied. In the end, I give credit to Chelsea, not just in some actions we were not good at, but when I analyse the game in general, we were more than decent.

“I know our standards and we demand them from what we have done in the past. I know it is not easy to sustain it for a long time. We won 11 games and people said they’re not going to lose another game.

“We have to continue doing what we’re trying to do. I’m the first to demand my team do it over 95 minutes, knowing that it’s impossible. But how we react and how we were in the game all the time – we were there. We created a lot against Chelsea.

“It doesn’t mean the next game will be easier, because the games we’ve had against Brentford in the past have always been so difficult and complicate­d.

“But we have an opportunit­y to climb to second, to go one point in front of Arsenal and be closer to Liverpool, and there are still a lot of games to play.”

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HEAT OF THE MOMENT: Pep Guardiola admits that the intensity of games can see him reach boiling point
■ HEAT OF THE MOMENT: Pep Guardiola admits that the intensity of games can see him reach boiling point
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WAR OF WORDS: Kyle Walker and Neal Maupay clash
■ WAR OF WORDS: Kyle Walker and Neal Maupay clash

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