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Pep Guardiola furious with Martin Atkinson over Ashley Young's challenge on Sergio Aguero

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (right) and Manchester United's Ashley Young battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (right) and Manchester United's Ashley Young battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola has taken a sarcastic swipe at referee Martin Atkinson’s failure to award Manchester City a penalty for Ashley Young’s challenge on Sergio Aguero in Saturday’s 3-2 derby defeat.

Asked if Aguero was fit to start against Liverpool in the second leg of City’s Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night after Young’s heavy tackle, a stony-faced Guardiola said: “He’s diving.”

The City manager said in the immediate aftermath of the game that he had not seen the incident clearly but, having reviewed the footage, it was clear Guardiola was furious that Atkinson had not awarded at least a penalty.

Although Young initially made contact with the ball, he caught Aguero full on the ankle with his studs with the follow through in an action that Guardiola felt was reckless and there was a case for the United left back to be sent off.

Aguero is likely to start against Liverpool as City bid to overturn a 3-0 deficit and Fernandinho believes it is imperative the senior players in the squad stand up as they bid to make an improbable comeback.

“Yeah, of course, now is the time for all the experienced players to take over, to take charge and stay in front of the group and keep the spirits high. We know the two defeats is not easy but it happens to the best teams in the world so we have to have courage to keep going.

“What we have done this season is amazing, now we are so close to be champions in the Premier League and we have a chance to go through in the Champions League but it is not easy to turn it around.

“We have to be together, the staff, the players, the fans, everyone at the club to make some amazing scenes. That is my faith we have to be together and fight to the end.

“My perfect script would be to go through, that is the most important thing. The fans might want a thrashing but we know it is going to be difficult. The most important thing will be the first action and the first goal and after that see what happens.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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