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Wednesday 12 December 2018

City not showing off-field class to match their beautiful football

Guardiola likes a bit of after-match 'banter' himself after his barracking of Southampton's Nathan Redmond following a late win recently. Photo: Getty Images
Guardiola likes a bit of after-match 'banter' himself after his barracking of Southampton's Nathan Redmond following a late win recently. Photo: Getty Images

There is little doubt that Manchester City are the best team the Premier League has seen in a considerable time.

Their results, and the manner they have achieved them this season, speak for themselves.

They're great. Great to watch, great at nicking a late winner and great at beating their biggest rivals.

But loved? Now that's another matter entirely.

Pep Guardiola will probably care little how his team is perceived by the general public as long as they continue to win.

The public relations machine that drives the club and attempts to swim with global football's big fish - namely Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid - by making inroads into lucrative foreign markets… probably more so.

The manner in which City's last two Premier League wins - over United and Tottenham Hotspur - were celebrated has shown that City have a deficiency. They lack the class to go with the riches bestowed on them.

The battle of Old Trafford, in which Jose Mourinho had various liquids thrown at him, with City coach Mikel Arteta sustaining a bloodied forehead, was followed by footage which emerged after last Saturday's thrashing of Spurs.

The video in question showed the City dressingroom taunting United with a 'Man United, Park the Bus' ditty. And all this in December. After beating Spurs.

If Guardiola was concerned about his squad celebrating too early and taunting his nearest rivals, he'd have issued a diktat to keep a lid on things while ushering the culprit Benjamin Mendy out of the dressingroom.

But he didn't. Nobody in the City squad or technical department took issue. Guardiola likes a bit of after-match 'banter' himself after his barracking of Southampton's Nathan Redmond following a late win recently.

Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy (r) filmed his team-mates taunting Manchester United following last Saturday’s win over Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy (r) filmed his team-mates taunting Manchester United following last Saturday’s win over Tottenham Hotspur

It since emerged that Guardiola was 'praising' Redmond, but the footage at the time suggested otherwise and prompted the English FA to look for an explanation.

There's another English FA probe into the Old Trafford drama in the pipeline too and such matters could have been avoided as the business end of the season approaches. City's opponents tonight in the League Cup, Leicester City, probably had more reason to celebrate their weekly Premier League successes back in the 2015-16 season than most, but they chose to keep a lid on things until the title was won.

No viral videos or cartons of milk thrown, and currently, Jamie Vardy has one more Premier League winner's medal than Pep Guardiola.

While Mourinho snipes at Guardiola, and anything else that irks him, Guardiola and his squad had the opportunity to be "the bigger man" and let their results do the talking.

City are probably comfortable enough - and good enough - to be that arrogant, but nobody in football likes braggarts. Especially in December.

If they get a name for it, opposing teams will be seeking to do them down at every opportunity to avoid having their noses rubbed in it.

The 'noisy neighbours' are becoming a little insufferable and we've another five months to go.

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