Pep Guardiola has always been a somewhat enigmatic character. You can never really tell what’s going on in that footballing brain of his. However, despite achieving a truly remarkable comeback against Spurs on Thursday, he made it very clear what he was thinking.
Despite enjoying the majority of the ball and creating chances throughout, Manchester City somehow found themselves on the receiving end of a one-two punch just before half-time, conceding two goals within the space of a minute — both of which he said they ‘gifted’ to their opponents.
However, when City came back out after the break, they were firing on all cylinders from the second the ref blew the whistle, scoring the equalising goals in less than 10 minutes before going on to see off Antonio Conte’s side 4-2.
While many managers would simply be relieved and/or happy that their players possessed the fight to get back in the game, the four-time Premier League winner was anything but, insisting that he “[did] not recognise his team” and that they showed “nothing from the stomach, the guts”.
Cutting an antagonist albeit understandably frustrated figure in the post-match interview, the 52-year-old said that his team lacked “passion, fire and desire to win”, even going on to take aim at his own supporters: “the same [goes] for our fans, they were silent for 45 minutes.
After the interviewer noted that certain sections of the crowd could be heard booing the City players off at half-time, Pep did insist that they were simply annoyed because the team were losing and “not because [they] played bad”.
While he did clarify that the club’s ‘real’, dedicated supporters, such as those who travel to away games “are the best”, he theorised that the problem with those that stayed quiet or even booed is perhaps the same as his squad’s: “Maybe we are too comfortable after winning four Premier Leagues in five years”.
Furthermore, when asked if ‘the fire’ had gone out in his team he instantly replied, “definitely”. Worse still, in the subsequent post-match press conference, the hyper-analytical coach warned that if this performance is anything to go by, it spells bad omens for the games against league Arsenal.
Doubling down on the suggestions of complacency, not only did Pep say he wants his fans back, but he also criticised the club for being in a state of what he calls “happy flowers”, arguing instead that they should only be focused on beating Arsenal.
Not only are the North London club five points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand on the blue half of Manchester, but Pep is set to come against his former protégé Mikel Arteta three times in the next few months: the first being next week in the FA Cup and then away in the league on 15 February.
To make things even more complicated, Manchester United face Arsenal on Sunday and a win could see them go neck and neck with their rivalries once again in the title race. On the other hand, a slip-up from the league leaders could simply open the door for City to reassert their dominance.
It’s going to be a tasty second half of the season, put it that way.
Featured Image — Sky Sports/Man City (via Twitter)
Man United to play Newcastle in Carabao Cup fourth round after Magpies knock out Man City
Last season’s Carabao Cup winners, Man United, now know their opponents for the next round after Newcastle United beat Man City 1-0 on Wednesday night, meaning both 2022/23 finalists will once again be meeting each other.
Either way, Alexander Isak’s single goal in the game at St James’ Park was enough to see the Magpies make it past the treble-winners despite a dominant first-half display from the away side.
Here’s the game-winning moment:
After receiving a yellow card during the game, the night ended with Guardiola fuming at referee Chris Kavanagh and exchanging more than a few words after the full-time whistle.
Clearing the moment up with reporters after the game, Pep said: “I don’t know how many fouls they did, how many fouls we had and the number of yellow cards, but it is what it is — sometimes the emotions are there. Respect for the referees and their job, a well-deserved yellow card.”
Nevertheless, the result has led to a repeat of last year’s culminating cup tie which, despite coming much earlier in the competition this time around, will see United facing off against a high-flying Newcastle team who just put eight goals past Sheffield United on this past Sunday.
The Magpies’ manager, Eddie Howe, has already said he and his side are aiming to “go one better” than they did last year and with the form they’re displaying at the moment — especially with United’s stuttering start — they stand a pretty good chance.
Elsewhere amongst the Premier League sides remaining in the competition, West Ham will host Arsenal, Bournemouth will play Liverpool at home and Sean Dyche’s Everton will play his old club Burnley.
Further down the footballing pyramid, Fulham visit Championship side Ipswich, Chelsea will host Blackburn and at least two other EFL sides will make it to the quarter-finals, with Mansfield at home to Port Vale and Exeter playing Middlesbrough.
All fourth-round ties are set to take place in the week commencing 30 October.
You can watch the highlights of Newcastle United vs Manchester City down below.
Featured Image — Man United/Man City/Newcastle United (via Instagram)
Someone’s imagined what a date night with different football managers would be like — and now we want to date Ian Holloway
Someone on Twitter—sorry, X, has put together a hypothetical thread of what different football managers would be like on a date and we genuinely haven’t stopped laughing.
It’s times like these that we remember how much we love the internet.
The absolutely deviant genius behind this is a lady named Alexandra Haddow: a writer, comedian, columnist and self-proclaimed ‘fashion magpie’ who decided to turn her comic chops to the world of football and footy managers, specifically.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to date, say, Pep Guardiola or Mikel Arteta, this may or may not give you some idea of what it might be like. I mean, not really but it’s hilarious and, we’ll warn you, it’s more than a bit naughty.
We’d try and describe how we’re feeling after reading these but we’ve only just got up after fainting.
It goes without saying that these spicy takes aren’t only an absolute crease but they’ll probably get you more hot under the collar than all three Fifty Shades books combined.
We genuinely struggled to pick our favourite but her vision of going out with former Leicester, Blackpool and QPR coach, Ian Holloway, had us literally dripping with tears of laughter: “Takes you to life drawing & brings magic mushrooms for both of you. You get kicked out for giggling. Ends up a twilight stroll by the river with ice creams discussing philosophy & your favourite sweet wrappers. Quick one in the bushes on the way home for a laugh.”
Honestly, we could be here all day sharing these fiery fantasy dates but we’ll leave you to enjoy them at your own (p)leisure.
Big up Alexandra for putting her mind firmly in the gutter simply for our amusement. She’s also playing here in Manchester next month at Cane and Grain in Northern Quarter in case you fancy enjoying her funnies in person.