Tuesday 18 June 2019

Man City stars stunned by Pep Guardiola’s half-time blast against Leroy Sane

Leroy Sane. Photo: ipanews
Leroy Sane. Photo: ipanews

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola tore into Leroy Sane during a furious dressing down at half-time of Manchester City’s shock FA Cup defeat by Wigan Athletic last week.

It’s understood that Sane’s City team-mates were left in stunned silence as Guardiola accused the Germany winger of failing to pull his weight and not adhering to his specific instructions in the first half of the 1-0 fifth round loss.

Guardiola’s anger extended to the City manager substituting Sane at half-time and bringing on right-back Kyle Walker to replace him for the start of the second half. The Catalan was already irate before he entered the dressing room after a series of angry confrontations on the pitch and then in the tunnel with Wigan manager Paul Cook in the wake of City defender Fabian Delph’s red card in the final minute of the first period.

Guardiola’s mood then darkened further when he turned on Sane, with one source claiming the manager’s dismay with the 22-year-old could even be heard in the corridor outside the City dressing room, although the matter was considered dealt with at the time. Sane was back in the starting XI for City’s 3-0 Carabao Cup final triumph over Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday, with Guardiola confident that his message has got through to the German, who has impressed en route to scoring 11 goals this term. City face Arsenal in the league at the Emirates Stadium tonight when victory would move them 16 points clear at the top.

City are convinced Sane has the talent to become one of the world’s best players but there is a belief that is it imperative the player keeps his feet on the ground and does not allow his focus to wander. Guardiola had claimed earlier in the season that Sane did not do enough in pre-season to warrant a starting place at the beginning of the campaign.

He also said after the FA Cup win against Burnley in January that Sane was still making “big mistakes” in the defensive and simpler aspects of his game that needed ironing out.

Those sentiments were echoed by City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who claimed it was imperative Sane kept a “clear mind” in order to realise his vast potential.

The Wigan game was also eventful in that it resulted in Guardiola being charged by the English FA for breaching kit and advertising rules by wearing a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned pro-independence Catalan politicians.

Guardiola has been given until 6pm on Monday to respond to the charge and said he would write to the FA to outline his position although the Catalan insisted yesterday that he would stop wearing the ribbon if there was any risk of him damaging the club or team. “I think it’s not going to happen [City asking him to stop wearing the ribbon] but if they say that, I am going to accept that,” he said. “They are the bosses. The club is more important than my personal opinion. But my personal opinion is not a political opinion.”

Although Guardiola ignored two formal warnings about the matter in December by continuing to wear the ribbon, it is thought its exposure against Wigan was unwitting, something he could consider arguing.

 Meanwhile, Guardiola gave a short speech as part of a champagne toast at City’s training ground yesterday in which he thanked staff for the part they played in helping to win the League Cup.


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