Mourinho and Guardiola not giving an inch on tunnel fracas
Both managers adamant in their stance during Tuesday’s pre-match press conferences
Manchester United manager José Mourinho speaks during a press conference at Aon Training Complex ahead of their clash with Bournemouth. Photo: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images
Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho stood their ground on Tuesday over the tunnel clashes at Old Trafford, with Manchester City’s manager insisting his team’s celebrations were “definitely not” excessive and Mourinho responding with a barbed remark about his opponents’ conduct.
“For me it was a question of diversity – diversity in behaviour, diversity in education, nothing more than that,” Manchester United’s manager said.
Guardiola is adamant that he and his City team celebrated Sunday’s derby win in the apt and respectful manner. Following the 2-1 victory a scuffle broke out in the corridor outside City’s dressing room. United’s manager had gone there to complain about the level of noise but a bust-up involving up to 20 players and staff of the clubs broke out.
Yet asked if City had gone over the top, Guardiola said: “Definitely not. It was the same as after the Southampton game, maybe it was more then because the winning goal then was in the 86th minute. We were happy because we won a derby. We celebrate but like how if United win, Arsenal win – how they celebrate. Inside the locker room – that’s what we try to do and we did it.
“It was correct, believe me. We jumped about because we were happy. People can understand that – we won an important game and we wanted to celebrate. But all the teams around the world who win a derby – they are happy. We did this at Barcelona [when manager there], like for finals, derbies – always we were happy. It’s what we did. The situation at Old Trafford – when you go to the home locker room you have to pass the away one, but we were inside, it wasn’t anything exceptional. Always we respect our opponents. What happened after the game, it was normal. We did it with extra happiness [but]in the locker room.”
Mourinho’s response made clear he disagreed. “He says, he says,” he replied when asked about Guardiola’s comments. “He says, he says, you know? I’m not here to comment on his words.” Mourinho then made his remarks about diversity.
Guardiola explained that he wants his City players to enjoy their victories. “The players shake hands, no problems [at the end, and then some go to celebrate with the fans then after they went to the locker room. I encourage them to celebrate in the locker room. When you lose you have to accept and when you win you try to celebrate. I don’t know who will win the title but we celebrate at the right moments. I’m the guy who encourages you to celebrate and that’s what we did. After what happened, hopefully it will not happen again.”
The Football Association has asked each club for its observations. Guardiola said: “I think the club is making a statement to the FA for our point of view of what happened. It was a game on a nice stage, the managers they did what they had to do. The players fought to win the game and we could have won by more or we could have drawn.”
The fracas left Mikel Arteta with blood on his face. “Arteta, I’m not going to say what happened,” said the Catalan. “The investigation will hear our opinions about that.” – Guardian service