He is arguably the best manager in world football, having won 21 trophies in just nine years. But for the first time in his managerial career, Pep Guardiola is not having it all is own way. And the pressure of being in a title race with five other contenders instead of just one is beginning to tell.
Manchester City kept their faint title hopes alive with a hard-fought win over Burnley on Monday but Pep Guardiola appeared to be anything but happy after the win.
After suffering a 1-0 defeat by Liverpool on New Year’s Eve, Guardiola’s men looked to be heading for another frustrating result when Fernandinho was shown a straight red card midway through the first half for a two-footed lunge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson.
However, the half-time introduction of David Silva and Sergio Aguero helped spur the hosts on to a 2-1 victory against the odds – Gael Clichy and Aguero grabbing the goals for City before Ben Mee’s scrambled header reduced the deficit.
But it was a prickly Guardiola who spoke to the press after the match. He refused to comment on Fernandinho’s red card when queried by BBC Sport journalist Damian Johnson, instead replying:
“You are the journalist, not me. Ask the referee.”
When asked if he still believed City were genuine title contenders, Guardiola retorted:
“Yesterday no, why today are we in the title race?”
He also embarked on a bizarre rant in which he claimed the rules of football are different in England and he would need to take time out to fully understand them, while also criticising Lee Mason’s deicision to allow Mee’s goal to stand.
“I have to understand the rules here in England. I know you are a specialist but I have to understand it.”
“All around the world [when] the goalkeeper is interfered [with] in the box, here [it is] not. I have to understand that.”
Then to top it all off, Guardiola hinted that is he already thinking of leaving Manchester, despite taking over just six months ago.
“I will be at Manchester for the next three seasons, maybe more, but I am arriving at the end of my coaching career, of this I am sure.’
‘I will not be on the bench until I am 60 or 65 years old. I feel that the the process of my goodbye has already started.”