Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Man City win overshadowed by red card and Pep Guardiola retirement plan

Man City 2 - Burnley1

By Tim Rich

After the seventh red card of Manchester City's season, Pep Guardiola defended his team's disciplinary record, arguing bizarrely that English football was against his style of football.

To compound the mood of anger and fatalism that surrounded Guardiola after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Burnley, NBC broadcast an interview with him in which he talked openly of retirement once his three-year contract with Manchester City is up.

"I will be at Manchester for the next three seasons, maybe more," said the City manager.

"But I am arriving at the end of my coaching career, of this I am sure. I will not be on the bench when I am 60 or 65 years old, of that I am sure. I feel the process of my goodbye has already started."

All the goals came in the second half, Gael Clichy squeezing home before Sergio Aguero, on as a sub, scored. Ben Mee pulled one back for Burnley.

Fernandinho's straight red card for a wild tackle on Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson meant the midfielder will face a four-match ban. This was only the Brazilian's third game back since being sent off for pushing Cesc Fabregas over an advertising hoarding at the end of City's 3-1 defeat by Chelsea at the beginning of December.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche argued that City should have been reduced to nine men when Bacary Sagna kicked out at George Boyd after the visitors had pulled a goal back.

In a terse and awkward press conference, Guardiola seemed furious both at Fernandinho's dismissal and referee Lee Mason's failure to protect his goalkeeper Claudio Bravo who dropped a high ball under pressure in the build-up to Burnley's goal. He seemed to argue that the world, and especially the world of Premier League football, was ganging up against Manchester City.

"Ask the referee, not me," was his response when asked about Fernandinho, who has now been dismissed three times in six weeks.

"We try to play football, right. My teams, always in my career, try to play football. I cannot control other circumstances."

Guardiola was sarcastic when pressed as to why there have been so many red cards.

He added: "It is always our fault. It is always City's fault. I saw other games. All around the world the Burnley goal would be a foul on Claudio Bravo.

"Okay, so I have to adapt and understand there are special rules in England. Now I have learned, we are going to play."

Dyche, however, thought Manchester City fortunate to have only one man dismissed. Sagna received just a yellow card for kicking out at Boyd.

"It is a sending-off because he swipes out at Boydy who is just trying to get the ball to the centre-circle. I can only assume the linesman didn't see enough to realise it was an actual kick-out."

Guardiola said he had rested rather than dropped Sergio Aguero, whose goal from the bench proved decisive.

"He played 90 minutes at Liverpool after four games out and I didn't consider he could play 90 minutes twice in just three days," he added.

MAN CITY: Bravo, Sagna, Clichy, Otamendi, Kolarov, Sterling (Stones, 88 mins), Navas (Silva, 46 mins), De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Toure, Iheanacho (Aguero, 46 mins). Unused subs: Caballero, Zabaleta, Nolito, Garcia.

BURNLEY: Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Boyd, Gudmundsson (Defour, 59 mins), Hendrick, Arfield (Bamford, 88 mins), Barnes (Vokes, 68 mins), Gray. Unused subs: Robinson, Tarkowski, Kightly, Darikwa, O'Neill.

Referee: Lee Mason

Man of the match: Sergio Aguero

Match rating: 7/10

 

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph