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12th Nov 2018

Pep Guardiola explains reason behind confrontation with Raheem Sterling after Manchester derby

Guardiola gave Sterling a stern talking to after Manchester City's victory over United, after the winger ran down the clock in the wrong manner

Reuben Pinder

Guardiola gave Sterling a pep talk after the final whistle

Manchester City’s victory over Manchester United on Sunday afternoon put the champions back at the top of the Premier League table, but Pep Guardiola still found reason to criticise one of his own players immediately after the final whistle.

Ever the perfectionist, Guardiola appeared to give Raheem Sterling a dressing down on the pitch for not running down the clock in the correct manner.

In the final seconds of the game, Sterling interchanged a series of quick, short passes with Leroy Sané and Phil Foden as United’s defenders hopelessly chased shadows.

Sterling indulged in a little showboatery on the touchline, performing step-overs to really sub some salt deep in United’s wounds. They were inconsequential, but Guardiola still took issue with his player’s antics, and didn’t bother waiting until they got to the changing rooms to let him know.

Guardiola explained the reasoning behind his decision to give Sterling a public telling off after the match, saying that Sterling “made some movements with his legs that we could avoid”.

“He’s young and will learn,” he added.

On the whole, Guardiola was pleased with his Sterling’s performance, though.

“I like a lot when he played but the best way to defend a result is to keep the ball,” Guardiola added.

“We spoke at half-time that we could play better and we were much better with the goal from Aguero after five minutes of the half.

“It was difficult, they defended so deep and they are aggressive, they follow man to man.

“But after 2-1 we reacted well, we didn’t concede and step by step we regained our game.”

Goals from Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan put City back at the top of the league table, ending Liverpool’s four hour spell as league leaders.

City are now two points ahead of Liverpool, and four above Chelsea, and don’t look like losing any time soon. If a there is to be any semblance of a title race this season, there is no room for error for the contenders.