Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has admitted he regrets his extraordinary post-match exchange with Southampton’s Nathan Redmond that has brought him to the attention of the disciplinary department of the Football Association.
The FA have asked Guardiola for his observations after he was pictured in what looked like an angry exchange with the player following Premier League leaders Manchester City’s dramatic late win against the Saints on Wednesday.
Redmond has insisted no offence was taken and confirmed the City manager’s claims he was merely complimenting the Southampton winger after Raheem Sterling’s goal deep into stoppage time sealed a win that kept Guardiola’s men eight points clear at the top of the table.
But Guardiola still conceded Friday he regrets the way he went about talking to an opposition player in public.
“Yes,” said Guardiola when asked if he regretted his actions. “I did it in Munich, with my old player (Joshua) Kimmich, I did the same in Dortmund and had regret there after the game and the same now.”
The Spaniard added: “I cannot control myself. Hopefully I will improve. What I said is what I said and what Nathan said in his statement.
“I admire him as a player and say thank you for his comments, but if the FA want my statement again I am able to explain whatever they want. If they don’t believe me, I don’t know what we’re doing here.
“When I give you an opinion, I give you an opinion,” former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Guardiola told reporters.
“You can agree or not, but if I’m explaining what happened and the people don’t believe me then let’s cancel our press conferences and just play the games.
“If they want to listen to me then I will do it. It’s not a problem.”
– ‘Never judge’ –
Meanwhile the City manager still insisted he meant no disrespect to Southampton or their manager Mauricio Pellegrino, his former Barcelona team-mate.
“I never judge and never will judge the way my opponents play against my team,” Guardiola said. “Everyone wants to win the game, definitely.
“We didn’t win clearly because it’s so complicated when 10 players defend in the box. They believe that is the best way.”
He added: “I’ve faced this kind of team a lot in my career and I have to think how to beat them.
“I understand completely to attack with the set-pieces. I said to Nathan you have to attack because you have the quality to do that.
“Never in my career, on or off the pitch, was I disrespectful about what they believe they have to do to beat me. It’s the same as I do to beat them.”
City’s win over Southampton came courtesy of a 96th minute goal from Sterling, the third time in eight days the England striker had scored a late decider.
It followed an 84th minute winner at Huddersfield on Sunday and an 88th minute winner in the Champions League against Feyenoord. Sterling also struck twice in added time in August, hitting a winner at Bournemouth and an equaliser against Everton in the only match this season rampant City have not won.
Reports have suggested City are trying to tie Sterling to a longer-term contract to add to his existing two-and-a-half year deal.
“It’s not my business,” said Guardiola. “But I think I was clear, we were clear, when Arsenal wanted him we said no, that’s not going to happen, he’s still young, we hope to make him happy and he can stay for longer. but it depends on the club and him.
“All the credit goes to him. All the managers want to help their players because if they play bad we’ll be sacked. But all the credit is Raheem’s.
“We tried to help him, the individual performances, it’s no secret.”