Pep Guardiola: I will not play Neil Warnock's blame game

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola has refused to engage in an argument with Neil Warnock over tackling ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League trip to Cardiff today.

The two sides met in a controversial FA Cup fourth-round tie last season in which City’s Leroy Sane suffered ankle ligament damage following a bad challenge from Cardiff’s Joe Bennett.

After the game City manager Guardiola called for referees to protect players better.

Cardiff boss Warnock has revisited the controversy ahead of this weekend’s encounter by claiming that, while agreeing with Guardiola over the Sane incident, another tackle in the same game went relatively unnoticed.

“If you watched in the 50th minute there was a tackle from Kevin De Bruyne on Jazz Richards that put him out for 17 games,” said Warnock yesterday.

“So I would say ‘which is the worst?’ That sounds like a worse tackle than Bennett’s, but we didn’t make a song and dance about that.”

Guardiola was unwilling to speak about the comments when put to him yesterday, saying, with a smile, that he had “nice words” with Warnock after the game in January.

Guardiola said: “I’m not going to discuss a game that happened six or seven months ago, the decisions of the referee. I’m not going to play that game.”

Guardiola has no concerns over the form of striker Gabriel Jesus, who has scored just once this season and struggled in Wednesday’s Champions League loss to Lyon. He said of the 21-year-old: “He’s happy. He’s been good so far with his performances. His movement, his high pressing is the best in the world, but he’s still young and they have a gap to improve.”

Guardiola was delighted record goalscorer Sergio Aguero agreed a contract extension to 2021. “I don’t know if he will finish his career here, I don’t what’s happening in three years, but it’s nice to count on him.”

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