Sunday 24 March 2019

Guardiola calls on bosses to give referees a break

Burnley boss Sean Dyche remonstrates with the fourth official as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks on during Saturday’s FA Cup clash
Burnley boss Sean Dyche remonstrates with the fourth official as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks on during Saturday’s FA Cup clash

Pep Guardiola called on Premier League managers to give referees a break after a touchline spat with Burnley’s Sean Dyche

The pair clashed verbally after Sergio Aguero equalised from a quick free-kick in the FA Cup third-round clash at the Etihad Stadium, with Manchester City going on to win 4-1.

Dyche was unhappy referee Graham Scott allowed Ilkay Gundogan to take the set-piece, with Guardiola speaking up to defend the officials.

The City boss said: “I apologise, I didn’t want to go out of control. I said leave the referees please.

“I have a lot of respect for Sean Dyche and the way they play because, of course it’s completely different, but they do it perfectly and that’s why football is tough.

“But I think all the managers around the world, especially here, forget to make their job. If they were offended I’m so sorry, because I don’t want to do that.”

Dyche shrugged off the incident, saying: “You both fight, you both want your teams to win. That’s just how it should be. Everybody’s allowed to be passionate I believe.”

City looked in danger of falling at the first hurdle when a thumping Ashley Barnes finish gave Burnley a half-time lead.

But the Premier League leaders hit back very strongly, with two goals in as many minutes from Aguero turning the tables before Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva added the gloss.

“I’m so happy,” said Guardiola. “It was a tough draw, what Burnley have done in the Premier League so far is amazing.

“I think the 90 minutes was quite good. Even in the first half I didn’t feel we were not playing good, just a little bit a lack of aggressivity. We spoke at half-time, we only need one goal so focus and try to win the game, and we did it in the second half.”

Guardiola believes the comeback bodes well for later in the season and praised John Stones for his reaction to the mistake that led to Barnes’ opener. “Today was a good example because the Champions League is in one month, in one month this kind of situation we are going to live, and it’s about how you react,” said the City boss.

“The best example is John Stones. He made a mistake for the first goal, but that is not the problem, the problem is how he reacts to that mistake.

“He will be down, he didn’t play any more, he didn’t defend well? It was completely the opposite. That is the only way to make a step forward and create something good for the club for the next years.”

Dyche remained aggrieved with the opening goal, but felt his side shot themselves in the foot by conceding the second straight away.

“That can happen here and that was really my only overriding gripe with the team today because I thought they were very, very good up until their first goal,” he said.

“Bit of a contentious one. I spoke to the ref and he said he doesn’t have to blow the whistle, but I think when Ashley Westwood’s five yards away motioning to say, ‘Are you going to blow the whistle?’ and he’s the man who should be in the slot where they passed it to, I’m bound to be aggrieved by that.”

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