“You have to prepare your questions better.”
Pep Guardiola dipped into the Alex Ferguson book of post-match interview tactics to deliver his best salvo since taking over as Manchester City manager.
The Spaniard fired a broadside at his players, warned the league could be lost if his team do not rediscover their old “fire” and urged the home supporters to not come to games expecting his side to get easy wins.
Guardiola delivered the spicy, at times spiky, interview to Sky Sports and two questions about his dressing room speeches to the City players, book-ending the Q&A, drew brusque responses.
City trailed 2-0 to Tottenham, at home, before a four-goal salvo in the second half claimed three points and kept them in touch with league leaders Arsenal. Asked what was lacking from his side, of late, Pep Guardiola said:
“Guts, passion, fire, desire to win from minute one.
“The same with the fans, they are silent for 45 minutes. I want my fans back. We have an opponent in Arsenal who have the fire!
“[The fans] booed because we were losing but in the second half we played good, we had more chances,” he added. “Maybe it’s the same with our team, maybe we are so comfortable with winning four Premier Leagues in five years.”
When he was reminded that Arsenal were years without title-winning success, Guardiola cut in, “Two decades. Two decades without winning the Premier League. I am explaining the reality, everything is so comfortable [here] but opponents don’t wait. I don’t recognise my team, they had the passion [before] and the desire to run.”
At the start of the interview, Guardiola was asked, “What did you say at half-time?” The City boss remarked, “You have to prepare better.”
Asked, minutes later, if he delivered a similar broadside to his City players in the dressing room, Guardiola said, “What do you think?” Asked again, he walked off camera, declaring, “Absolutely not!” Interview over.
Pep Guardiola said City’s away support were the best in the land but he chided many that watch the team play at Etihad Stadium for expecting wins without bringing much brio and noise, as their part of the bargain.
The Guardiola interview was classic Alex Ferguson. The former Manchester United boss loved nothing better than using a post-match interview to send direct messages to his players. The Scot loved nothing better than going up against Arsenal, too.
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