Ever since he took Barcelona to a treble in his first season in management, Pep Guardiola has had the plaudits of the great and the good in football ringing in his ears.
Aside from being unable to win another Champions League title after leaving the Catalan club, the now Man City manager has done everything right.
Watching his teams play is an exercise in artistry, such are the magnificent brush strokes his teams create on the field of play.
However, he’s certainly read the room wrong in the most recent case of trying to defend one of his players.
Managers generally won’t castigate their staff in public – unless your Jose Mourinho – so that may have something to do with why Guardiola refused to admonish Benjamin Mendy for breaking Covid protocols over the new year period.
“Benjamin already had Covid in the past, he has been tested every day like all the other players. He has explained, he knows what he has done and he will learn in the future,” Pep was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“He is part of the group, he is one of the guys who is much beloved in our group. In the stands today he was the most active player. He is a special guy for us and has an incredible heart.
“I would like to see how many people will now judge him and see if they have the good intentions that he has.
“But he has to understand some things. I would like to know how many people did this on New Year’s Eve, but normally in this society we judge the others when first we should judge ourselves.
“I’m not justifying it, he broke the rules. But don’t give too many lessons to the others.”
It’s an attitude that hasn’t found favour with many social media users, all of whom savaged him in the aftermath of his comments being made public.
shameful from Guardiola.
— Kevin Coaker (@kevincoaker) January 3, 2021
Wow. What a way to defend the indefensible.
— Mathew (@Mightymj1) January 3, 2021
WHAT?! Whether Mendy gets more attention for breaking the rules than Joe the plumber down the street doesn’t mean breaking the rules is OK.
— Michael LoRé (@michaellore) January 3, 2021
Embarrassing. The club should be docked points / fined when players blatantly break the rules. It’s the only way they will actually learn.
— Si (@SimonDyoung) January 4, 2021