Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has this evening leapt to the defence of Chelsea counterpart Maurizio Sarri, in the aftermath of the Citizens’ drubbing of their Premier League rivals.
City run riot
The two sides went head to head at the Etihad, in the second of the day’s Premier League fixtures.
Both sides headed into proceedings with critical season targets to play for, with hosts City hoping to keep pace with Liverpool atop the English top-flight, and Chelsea aiming to reclaim their spot in the top-4.
However, when all was said and done in Manchester this evening, the gulf in class between the Citizens and Blues at present was laid bare for all to see.
An absolutely embarrassing opening 25 minutes to the clash for Chelsea saw City race out to a 4-0 lead, courtesy of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero (2) and Ilkay Gundogan,
And the champions didn’t let up after the interval, with Aguero having gone on to notch his hat-trick from the penalty spot, before Sterling netted his 2nd of the day 10 minutes from time.
35-2 – In 2019, Manchester City have won their seven matches in all competitions at the Etihad by an aggregate score of 35-2. Fortress. pic.twitter.com/hCapNIr4IG
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 10, 2019
Sarri blanks Guardiola
Unsurprisingly, the aftermath of Chelsea’s drubbing at the Etihad has since seen Blues’ boss Maurizio Sarri singled out for heavy criticism.
The Italian tactician was shown up by Pep Guardiola in a tactical sense, with City having essentially dominated in every aspect of the game.
However, his side’s showing in Manchester was not the only factor behind his condemnation.
Sarri was also widely-criticized for appearing to ignore counterpart Guardiola’s handshake following the full-time whistle.
After the City boss had extended his hand, Sarri simply walked past the Spaniard, before heading straight down the tunnel.
As such, many have since claimed that the Chelsea manager’s actions showcased a complete lack of class and respect.
‘Don’t understand how difficult it is’
As a result, speaking in a post-match interview a short time ago, Pep Guardiola was inevitably drawn on the topic of his snubbed handshake attempt.
However, the former Barcelona boss was quick to defend his Chelsea counterpart, ensuring that Sarri had simply not noticed him:
Pep Guardiola on why Sarri didn’t shake his hand at full time pic.twitter.com/8X4kucuaRI
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 10, 2019
Guardiola also went on to defend Sarri’s approach to this evening’s clash, pointing to his own difficulties during his first season in the Premier League as proof that managers require time when implementing new tactics in England:
‘They beat us at Stamford Bridge. Against Napoli last season it was tight at times.’
‘People don’t understand how difficult it is. In my first season it was tough too. It takes time. It needs owners to really believe in that.’
‘I don’t have to convince Txiki. He knows me. He knows I’m not good when I win or bad when I lose.’