London (AFP) – Liverpool forward Sadio Mane says he will not change his style of play despite Pep Guardiola’s “diving” accusation.
The Manchester City boss made the claim at the weekend, when the Senegal international was booked after going down in the penalty area following a challenge by Aston Villa’s Frederic Guilbert.
Manager Jurgen Klopp jumped to his defence and Guardiola subsequently rowed back on the comments, saying they were part of a longer speech in which he praised the forward.
Mane, unaware of the subsequent climbdown, was unmoved by Guardiola’s initial criticism as he believes if there is contact he has a right to go down.
And he offered a sarcastic response to the City boss ahead of the match between the two sides at Anfield on Sunday, saying: “If it could be a penalty for sure I will ‘dive’ again.
“If the ‘dive’ will give me a penalty then I will do it. Why not? But what Jurgen said is correct. I do not dive,” said Mane.
“There was contact (at Villa) for sure. Maybe it was not a penalty and he didn’t give it, and he gave me a yellow card. To be honest I don’t have any problem about it.
“It’s what I want to keep doing. If I get a penalty, yeah it’s a penalty. If no penalty, no penalty, but (it) will never change the way I’m playing or the way I’m doing my things.”
Guardiola’s criticism was seen as the start of mind games leading up to Sunday’s Anfield encounter and Mane said the City boss had been a “bit clever” to get the attention of the referee.
The defending Premier League champions trail Klopp’s side by six points but City are the only team to have beaten Liverpool in their past 50 league matches.
“I can say one of the biggest tests, for sure,” said Mane. “But if you ask me I would say not only City because against Aston Villa you can see how the game was and Leicester also was really tough.
“So I think we played already a few big games in this season and for sure City as well will be a big game.”
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