Tetchy Pep Guardiola hits out at media and hints at retirement

City manager refused to discuss side’s seventh red card of season in win over Burnley

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks to referee Lee Mason after their Premier League win over Burnley. Photo: Anthony Devlin/Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks to referee Lee Mason after their Premier League win over Burnley. Photo: Anthony Devlin/Reuters

 

Pep Guardiola delivered a series of abrupt interviews after his 10-man Manchester City side ground out a fractious 2-1 win over Burnley.

The City manager was not happy about some crucial decisions even though his team creditably overcame another Fernandinho red card to win a hard-fought contest with goals from Gael Clichy and Sergio Aguero.

Adding to the sense of unease at the Etihad Stadium was an excerpt from a lengthy pre-recorded — but newly-released — interview with NBC in which the 45-year-old said he was moving closer to the end of his coaching career.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss did not suggest retirement was imminent, but he did imply he may not serve for much longer than his current contract.

This was not necessarily revelatory — and he even said last month he had no desire to emulate the longevity of Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger — but the timing, as his post-match emotions ran high, was not ideal.

Guardiola said: “I will not be a trainer when 60 or 65 years old. Manchester City is three years or maybe longer but I am still approaching the end of my career as a manager, I am pretty sure of that.”

Asked about this in his press conference, he elaborated little.

“It might be one of my last teams,” he said.

It was clear by this stage, however, Guardiola was in little mood to discuss matters at length with the media.

Speaking to the BBC earlier, Guardiola gave only short answers when asked about various incidents in the game.

The Fernandinho dismissal — the Brazilian’s third in six appearances, this time for a two-footed lunge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson — was a particularly sensitive subject.

“You’re the journalist not me,” he said when asked. Pressed further, he added: “Ask the referee not me.”

When speaking to written press, he tried to change the subject to claim goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had been fouled as Ben Mee pulled a goal back for the visitors.

“I didn’t see it, but I saw the fault (foul) for Claudio Bravo, that was definite,” he said. “Now we are going to accept the three or four games (ban for Fernandinho) but remember it was a fault (for Bravo).”

Among a series of short exchanges with a reporter for Sky, Guardiola did however admit he made a “big mistake” in leaving Aguero and David Silva on the bench.

The pair were surprise omissions from the starting line-up but their introduction prompted a successful change of shape after the interval, when Guardiola also tried to fire up the crowd.

Clichy broke the deadlock after 58 minutes before Aguero struck his 17th of the season from a tight angle four minutes later.

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