“He was a manager for a short time,” Guardiola mocks painfully Neville's poor record

Man City manager Pep Guardiola gesturing during a match, (inset) Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville (Photo: Courtesy)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola dismissed former Manchester United captain Gary Neville’s fleeting coaching career and sarcastically labelled him a “prestigious pundit” in response to criticism from the Sky Sports analyst.

Neville labelled Guardiola’s decision to name only six substitutes for last weekend’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Burnley due to a spiralling injury crisis as “a joke”.

Also an ex-England coach, Neville believes an opportunity should have been given to one of City’s many promising academy prospects.

“If you’re the academy or reserve team manager at Manchester City, you must think: ‘I’m wasting my time,’” added Neville.

Guardiola had already defended his decision by saying that he could not pick a player from City’s elite development squad as they had faced a game on the Friday night.

But also took a fresh dig at Neville by making a disparaging reference to his disastrous four-month spell as manager of Valencia in 2016.

“This guy, the pundit, he has to know my job is serious. It’s not a joke, never is it a joke. It’s so serious. And he should know that because he was a manager – for a short time.”

However, Guardiola refused to say he could refuse to name a full compliment of subs again in coming weeks.

“It’s not a book where you have to follow the rules. Sometimes I say: ‘OK, I take that decision.’

“And of course the prestigious pundit can say whatever he wants. But I take the decisions.”

Many pundits, including Neville and former England captain Alan Shearer, interpreted Guardiola’s decision as a protest against a number of dangerous challenges made on City players during recent matches.

Leroy Sane was ruled out until mid-March after his ankle ligaments were damaged by a wild tackle from Joe Bennett during City’s FA Cup fourth-round win at Cardiff on January 28, while Kevin de Bruyne and Brahim Diaz were on the receiving end of bad challenges against West Brom.

Guardiola played down that suggestion, adding that in his decade-long coaching career he had always previously named a full bench.

 

 

 

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