Pep Guardiola criticises referees as John Stones goes off injured after linesman delays offside call

Everton manager Sean Dyche also had his grumbles with the officials on the night.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 28th December 2023

Pep Guardiola has railed against the referees who officiated Manchester City’s game against Everton on Wednesday night and the current Premier League rules, in general, after John Stones picked up a concerning injury when the linesman refrained from flagging for offside.

The English centre-back limped off just before half-time following a challenge from opposition striker, Beto, who was in an offside position but was allowed to play on due to referees still being instructed to wait before raising their flag until the sequence of play is finished.

Guardiola has already detailed that the situation “doesn’t look good”, revealing that Stones left Goodison Park wearing a protective boot and that they are yet to find out how serious the ankle injury is.

Nevertheless, the Man City coach wasted no time in expressing his disappointment and frustration at the continued use of the protocol, insisting that when it becomes clear that a player is offside, the linesmen should simply raise their flag to prevent situations like this.

Guardiola argues that Stones might not have picked up the injury if the referee blew for offside.

Also speaking in the post-match press conferences, Everton manager Sean Dyche agreed that current refereeing standards seem to be resulting in more confusion than clarity, stating that “the rules are saying one thing, the people in the game want a different thing, VAR intervenes when we’re not sure when it’s intervened or not, and there’s a lot going on”.


Reflecting on the prospect of putting microphones on referees and installing more screens around stadiums to make the processes clearer, Dyche argued: “Surely the idea is to take it away — give the ref less to do in a good way… just let them referee the game. But they just keep adding another rule, another layer and another offside rule where we all just sit there and think ‘I have no clue what’s going on here'”.

While Dyche was more referring to the handball claim that went against them rather than one for them in the 3-1 defeat on Merseyside, with Julián Álvarez slotting home a somewhat controversial penalty — several City players having been criticised for surrounding the referee — it is clear both sides had their grievances and the injury to Stones proved to be yet another case against the current offside protocol.

The fans aren’t happy that the decision ultimately resulted in nothing more than Stones getting injured either.

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On the subject of injuries, Pep also went on to give an update on striker Erling Haaland and his potential return date, adding, “Hopefully in January he can come back with us.”

The 52-year-old confirmed that the Norwegian number nine is “feeling better” but is yet to complete a training session back with the squad; fellow star man Kevin De Bruyne has completed a training session but is still yet to get back on the pitch.


Despite their current injury setbacks, the two-time treble-winner — who secured a total of five trophies for his side in 2023 — said that he knew they were “the best team in the world” when he heard them already talking about the next fixture just hours after lifting the Club World Cup.

You can see the full highlights of Man City’s important away win against the Toffees down below:

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Featured Images — Amazon Prime Sport (via Screenshot)