Pep Guardiola was surprised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s warning to his Manchester United players over Manchester City’s ‘aggressive’ tactics.
The two sides will meet at Old Trafford this evening in a crucial Premier League clash which could have a huge bearing on who wins the title and who finishes in the top four this season.
United must win to keep their chances of Champions League qualification alive, while City are gunning for back to back titles, locked in a tense battle with Liverpool.
Ahead of the derby, Solskjaer suggested that Pep Guardiola’s side will “kick at the ankles” of his players, but the Spanish boss has reacted angrily to those comments in a pre-match press conference – as per BBC Sport.
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United v City
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 24, 2019
Guardiola was visibly bemused by the United manager’s assessment of his tactics, as he stated: “Did he say that? With 65% or 70% possession, how do we do that?”
“I don’t like it. My side is not built like that, not at all.”
BBC Sport reports that City are unhappy with Solskjaer’s public outburst, especially since the statistics suggest that United are far more prone to perceived dirty tactics than their local rivals.
City have only been issued with 38 yellow cards and one red this season, while the Red Devils have picked up a whopping 64 and four in total.
As per BBC Sport, FA rules specifically state that managers are forbidden from speaking about referees before matches, but Solskjaer risked their wrath when he said: “They [City] commit so many players forward and you can clearly see that they’ve got them in that mould of trying to win the ball back, and they do make fouls.
“It’s up to us to play through that press, be ready, play one and two-touch, don’t give them time. If you spend two or three touches… it’s not my decision, it’s the referee’s responsibility to do that.”
Guardiola went on to suggest that the Norwegian was deliberately trying to influence the match officials ahead of the derby as he added: “That’s the reason why, of course.
But I don’t think it will be successful because we don’t do it.”
City have won their last 10 Premier League matches and will heavy favourites to beat their neighbours on Wednesday night, especially after their shock 4-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday.