Pep Guardiola got caught up in the moment after Manchester City’s last-second 2-1 win against Southampton on Wednesday.
We get it. Soccer is an emotional game.
Pep, we excuse you for running around and celebrating like a madman, and we also understand your players (including the injured Benjamin Mendy) running around like lunatics to celebrate Raheem Sterling‘s 96th minute winner. It was a big deal and kept City’s eight-point lead atop the table.
What we cannot excuse is Guardiola seeming to goad and undermine opposition players in an aggressive manner as they walked off the pitch.
The video here shows Southampton’s Nathan Redmond being confronted by Guardiola as he walked off, devastated. We don’t know what happened before this footage. If Redmond antagonized Guardiola or said anything to spark such a furious reaction, but even if he did, Guardiola’s reaction is completely unnecessary and out of order. Why get involved?
Post-game Guardiola was asked about his reaction to Redmond and he had the following to say, more than likely with his tongue firmly inserted into his cheek.
“I said what good a player he is,” Guardiola said. “Last season he destroyed us here. I didn’t know him last season and didn’t realize how good he is. Today he could not attack because he defends all the time.”
Look, what Guardiola did wasn’t the worst thing in the world but do we really think Redmond wanted this “advice” or “praise” from Guardiola, the opposing manager, seconds after his team had just conceded a goal in the 96th minute to lose a game?
The answer is no. Redmond didn’t react angrily, despite covering his mouth and saying something which obviously upset Guardiola further, but he shouldn’t have to be in that situation even if what Guardiola said happened was true. Other players may not react as placidly as Redmond did in that situation.
Guardiola is a passionate man and a soccer purist. We get it. He didn’t like Saints sitting back, soaking up pressure and coming so close to being the first team in 19 games in all competitions to stop Man City from winning.
I’d expect they would be getting a message from the English Football Association this morning being asked to explain their actions. Even though Man City have won 12 games on the spin and Guardiola is the mastermind of one of the greatest teams the Premier League has ever seen, he should be held accountable and be questioned further as to why he thinks confronting opposition players at the final whistle is okay to do.
Grabbing an opposition player, puffing your chest out and screaming in his face isn’t acceptable, no matter what was said.