Wednesday 16 January 2019

Comment - Pep Guardiola's exploding ego was exposed on Wednesday night... and it was ugly to behold

Pep Guardiola, left, had words with Nathan Redmond as the players leave the field
Pep Guardiola, left, had words with Nathan Redmond as the players leave the field
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola should have woken up on Thursday morning and appreciated he had made a fool of himself when he served up an impromptu lecture for Southampton's Nathan Redmond after his side's dramatic 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium, but you suspect that reality never entered his mind.

At a moment when the platitudes are flowing in Guardiola's direction as his side serve up sporting perfection on a weekly basis, the City boss went out of his way to attract negativity by indulging in a pretentious post-match display that exposed an ugly side to his character.

Football lovers of all ilks - with the exception of Manchester United fans of course - have found it hard to resist City's brilliance this season, with the Catalan visionary leading their charge dreaming up a brand of passing football that is as pure as it comes during a period when so many of his rivals in England's top flight promote more functional tactics in a results-driven world.

By winning a 12th successive Premier League game in dramatic fashion against a plucky Southampton side in their latest assignment, City cemented what many have argued is a prematurely bestowed status as 'champions-elect' and yet it was the events after Raheem Sterling's winning goal that have provided the biggest talking point in the hours that have followed.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have won 13 league games this season and drawn their other one.

At first glance, Guardiola's aggressive confrontation with Southampton defender Nathan Redmond seemed to be the somewhat sinister, with the animated City manager surprising a smiling Redmond with an energetic tirade that would have been a strange sight to behold if the telling off was being given to one of his own players.

That his outburst was directed at an opponent spiked the curiosity levels further and when his explanation arrived, the scale of his arrogance was magnified in graphic fashion.

“I was telling Redmond how good he is,” said Guardiola. “Southampton have some super-talented players and last season Redmond scored a superb one-on-one against us, he destroyed us, but here Southampton did not want to play. They were time wasting from the ninth minute. I just wanted them to play.”

Seriously? Guardiola believes it is his place - as some kind of self-appointed God of football - to educate the lesser mortals who cross is path on how the game should be played? Does he not appreciate how sanctimonious his rant looked?

As U2 frontman Bono has often suggested when poking fun at himself in interviews - which appears to have become one of his favourite hobbies in recent years - people who dare to believe they are blessed with genius struggle to contain their ego when they take centre-stage and Guardiola should understood how his actions would look to those looking on as Redmond laughed at his antics.

Surely this experienced football A-lister did not believe Southampton should have taken on a rampant City in a straight battle of passing football that could only have ended in one way, so Guardiola's uncontrollable excitement in the aftermath of his side's dramatic win would have been a credible excuse for his behaviour.

When he backed up his actions by telling the he felt he had the right to lambaste players not in his team for playing the game in a manner he did not enjoy, it was impossible to offer any credible defence for a coach who has allowed his own hype to blur his mind.

The debate over how the FA might have reacted if Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had confronted an opponent in such an abrasive manner is not relevant here as it seems the FA did not feel the need to dream up rules for managers 'educating' opponents on how they should play the game before they have left the pitch, but maybe a new amendment need to be added to their disciplinary book under a new 'egomaniac' category.

Oh and if the City manager is planning to offer some of his free schools for opposition players in his next match, may we advise him to book the whole of Sunday evening off as Manchester City are scheduled to play West Ham on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium

The post-match Guardiola 'educational' seminar for David Moyes and his struggling band of players may stretch long into the evening.

Online Editors

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