Belfast Telegraph

Bournemouth's Harry Arter thanks Pep Guardiola for heartwarming gesture

Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter has thanked Pep Guardiola for the "unbelievable touch" of wishing him luck with the birth of his child, which is due later this week.

In December 2015, before Guardiola had accepted a job in English football, Arter and his partner Rachel's daughter Renee was delivered stillborn.

The Manchester City manager was seen talking to Arter on the pitch after the visitors' 2-0 win at the Vitality Stadium on Monday, and, asked about the incident, Arter told the Daily Echo: "He offered his best wishes for me and my partner this week, which was an unbelievable touch.

"He is someone I have a massive amount of respect for. I watched his Barcelona teams, and look at his Manchester City side.

"For me, he is the best manager in the world. I don't think there's anybody close to him and what he has achieved.

"For him to offer that to me, I respected it and accepted it with a smile on my face."

Guardiola was asked at his post-match press conference about what he had told the midfielder, and said: "He will be a father soon so I said big congratulations to him and his partner because I know what happened in the past, and, hopefully, the baby will be well."

Arter was part of a midfield overrun and outclassed as City excelled to move up to second in the Premier League table.

Raheem Sterling's first-half finish and Tyrone Mings' own goal could have been added to in the final 10 minutes, when the impressive Leroy Sane struck the crossbar and David Silva watched Artur Boruc tip his shot onto the post.

"People say, in the winter transfer window arrived one guy (Gabriel Jesus), but since Arsenal (2-1 win on December 18) something has clicked with Sane," Guardiola said.

"He's shown us a lot of things. He's so fast, his intensity has helped us a lot: 20 years old. I'm so happy that Manchester City have a player for the next few years.

"The last 15-20 minutes (Silva) moved the lines, passed and passed and passed with Kevin (De Bruyne) and Fernandinho. (That's) the best way to control the counter-attacks. It's the first time this year we did that, controlling the game.

"Good control against a team who are difficult if you let them run because their wingers have quality. That's why I'm so pleased, to come here and win the way we played.

"Now we go into the (FA) Cup (away to Huddersfield on Saturday), and around the corner is Monaco (in the Champions League). We're so happy, but still we have many things to improve. We have to keep this good momentum."

After watching his team move up to second, and to within eight points of leaders Chelsea, the Spaniard also refused to rule out the prospect of them seriously re-entering the title race.

And Yaya Toure has urged his team-mates not to forget how they ended up as champions after similarly falling behind in 2012 and 2014.

"We are a little bit far away from (Chelsea) at the moment, and the way they are playing they won't let those points go," said the City midfielder.

"But we have to look forward and also remember 2012 and 2014 when we came from behind to win the trophy. We had a little bit of luck."

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