Sunday 25 February 2018

Manchester City's Pep Guardiola regrets fiery post-match exchange with Southampton's Nathan Redmond

Pep Guardiola has admitted regret for his actions on Wednesday evening. Getty
Pep Guardiola has admitted regret for his actions on Wednesday evening. Getty

Ian Whittell

Pep Guardiola has admitted he regrets his extraordinary post-match exchange with Southampton’s Nathan Redmond that has brought him the attention of the FA’s disciplinary department.

The FA have asked Guardiola for his observations after he was pictured in what looked like an angry exchange with the player following Manchester City’s dramatic late win against the Saints on Wednesday.

Redmond has insisted no offence was taken and confirmed the City manager’s claims that he was merely complimenting the Southampton winger.

But Guardiola still conceded that he regrets the way he went about talking to an opposition player so publicly.

“Yes,” said Guardiola when asked if he regretted his actions. “I did it in Munich, with my old player (Joshua) Kimmich, I did the same in Dortmund and had regret there after the game and the same now. I cannot control myself. Hopefully I will improve. What I said is what I said and what Nathan said in his statement.

“I admire him as a player and say thank you for his comments but if the FA want my statement again I am able to explain whatever they want. If they don’t believe me I don’t know what we’re doing here. When I give you an opinion, I give you an opinion. You can agree or not, but if I'm explaining what happened and the people don't believe me then let's cancel our press conferences and just play the games. If they want to listen to me then I will do it. It's not a problem.”

Strangely, Guardiola cited an example that featured his own Bayern Munich player, Kimmich, with whom he had a similar altercation after a game in March 2015 although the City manager still insisted he meant no disrespect to Southampton or their manager Mauricio Pellegrino, his former Barcelona team mate.

“I played against millions in managers and the different ways they play,” he said. “I never judge and never will judge the way my opponents play against my team. Everyone wants to win the game, definitely. We didn't win clearly because it's so complicated when 10 players defend in the box. They believe that is the best way.

“I've faced this kind of team a lot in my career and I have to think how to beat them. I understand completely to attack with the set pieces. I said to Nathan you have to attack because you have the quality to do that. Never in my career, on or off the pitch, was I disrespectful about what they believe they have to do to beat me. It's the same as I do to beat them.”

City’s victory over Southampton came courtesy of a 96th minute winning goal from Raheem Sterling, the third time in eight days the England striker had scored a last-minute decider.

That followed a similar, injury-time winner at Bournemouth and a point-saving late equaliser with Everton, the only team to have avoided defeat against rampant City this season.

Reports have suggested that City are trying to tie Sterling to a longer-term contract to add to his existing two-and-a-half year deal.

"It's not my business,” said Guardiola. “But I think I was clear, we were clear, when Arsenal wanted him we said no, that's not going to happen, he's still young, we hope to make him happy and he can stay for longer. but it depends on the club and him. All the credit goes to him. All the managers want to help their players because if they play bad we'll be sacked. But all the credit is Raheem’s.

“We tried to help him, the individual performances, it's no secret.”

Guardiola faces a tough selection issue for Sunday’s visit of struggling with West Ham - with Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane and Fernandinho all one booking away from a suspension that would rule them out of the Manchester derby a week later.

"I'm worried about the bookings but West Ham as well, we'll see the team,” he said. “The last game we didn't play David Silva from the beginning, I roatated and maybe i will again. Nine games in one month is a lot.

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