Friday 23 February 2018

Furious Pep Guardiola in tunnel bust-up at Stamford Bridge

Pep Guardiola makes his feelings known to fourth official Robert Madley during the match at Stamford Bridge. Photo: REUTERS
Pep Guardiola makes his feelings known to fourth official Robert Madley during the match at Stamford Bridge. Photo: REUTERS

Matt Law

Pep Guardiola was caught up in a heated Stamford Bridge tunnel row as Antonio Conte prepared a victory speech for his players after Chelsea knocked Manchester City out of the Premier League title race.

Guardiola had cut an annoyed figure on the touchline during City's 2-1 defeat on Wednesday night, constantly berating the fourth official, and the anger and frustration from the touchline spilled into the tunnel after his side had fallen 14 points behind the leaders.

The bust-up started between Chelsea fitness coach Paolo Bertelli and Manchester City masseur Mark Sertori, who had been arguing from their respective positions in the dugouts during the game.

Witnesses claim the pair clashed in the mouth of the tunnel and an angry exchange ensued that was being dealt with by stewards and other staff members before Guardiola is said to have become involved.

Having already made his way up to the dressing-room area, Guardiola is claimed to have come back down the stairs to defend Sertori and allegedly flew into a rage when Bertelli made a comment about his touchline behaviour.

The row did not become physical, but Guardiola stood his ground and waited outside the City dressing room after everybody had been ushered back up the stairs towards their respective dressing rooms.

Guardiola recovered his cool in time for the post-match press conferences.

Conte was unaware of the entire incident, having quickly made his way back into the dressing room, ready to address his victorious squad.

The Chelsea head coach's impromptu meeting with his players in the dressing room ended with a huge round of applause echoing around the tunnel area.

The Italian was delighted that his team had bounced back from their shock defeat by Crystal Palace and has reiterated that he intends to be at Chelsea next season.

Chelsea are hopeful that Conte will sign an extension to his current contract, which still has two years to run, once the Premier League title is secure.

Conte has guided the Blues to the brink of winning the title in his first season, but that has not stopped reports in Italy claiming Inter Milan will make an attempt to snatch him away from Stamford Bridge this summer.

"We're fighting for the title and we want to achieve this goal, then we'll try to build something important together,"he said.

Asked whether that meant he will be at Chelsea next season, Conte added: "Yes, for the next season."

Other than Conte, Chelsea intend to keep hold of Eden Hazard, who proved to be the match-winner against City, despite renewed interest from Real Madrid. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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