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29th Sep 2017

Manchester United fans are none too pleased with Pep Guardiola’s subtle dig

Any opportunity

Darragh Murphy

Pep Guardiola clearly doesn’t rate Manchester United’s style of play.

The Manchester City manager’s footballing philosophy is well documented. He likes to build attacks from the back, move the ball quickly and break down defences after dominant periods of possession.

When it worked, it was a sight to behold at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, which sent him straight to the top of City’s wishlist last summer.

After a shaky first season at the Etihad, Guardiola seems to have steadied the ship in his sophomore campaign and his side have been banging in goals for fun since the opening day.

City are not just winning but they’re winning in style and Guardiola is proud of that fact. However, he doesn’t feel that fellow early contenders and arch-rivals, United, are as easy on the eye as they perhaps should be.

During an interview with Gary Lineker for the BBC, Guardiola was asked whether he believed that the English national team were underperforming due to their more direct style of play and it was then that he seized the opportunity to deliver a subtle dig in the Red Devils’ direction.

“I don’t think so,” Guardiola said. “You see for example you see the national team, Dier, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Henderson, Lallana – these are players who have the quality to play.

“I see Chelsea, I see Tottenham, they want to play, they like to play, and build up, so when United play long balls, second balls they play to Fellaini and Pogba after they have the quality to play.”

After seemingly suggesting that United resort to long ball tactics too frequently for his personal liking, the Spaniard insisted: “I have a lot of respect for my neighbours.”

But United fans were not happy with Guardiola’s assessment of the style of play employed by Jose Mourinho.