Pep Guardiola has suggested Manchester United receive favourable treatment at Old Trafford after a controversial equaliser in Saturday’s derby defeat, while he claims he ‘doesn’t care’ about the Premier League and City ‘cannot win’ the title.
The reigning champions took the lead on the hour-mark against their fierce rivals through substitute Jack Grealish but the game turned on its head in the 78th minute.
A through-ball was played to an offside Marcus Rashford, who ran alongside the ball and seemed to move as if to strike it – affecting the movements of City’s goalkeeper and defenders – only to leave it at the last second for an onside Bruno Fernandes to fire into the back of the net.
City’s players were livid that the goal was allowed to stand and suddenly looked dishevelled and rattled, conceding a second goal just four minutes later as Rashford tucked home to secure a 2-1 win.
Guardiola was absolutely convinced that Rashford’s actions constituted interfering with play even though he did not touch the ball – though he expects decisions to go against his side when playing at Old Trafford.
Asked about United’s equaliser, Guardiola told BT Sport: ‘Well Rashford was offside, Bruno Fernandes was not. Intervene Rashford or not?
‘Distract our keeper and distract our central defenders? The rule is… I don’t know the rule. But I know where we play.’
Guardiola was also asked about a moment when he felt Erling Haaland had been clipped inside the box and replied: ‘I ask but [no answer from the referees].’
The result puts a dent in City’s title aspirations and Arsenal could go eight points clear at the top if they beat Tottenham on Sunday, but Guardiola claims he does not care and bizarrely suggested his side could not win the title.
He continued: ‘Yeah, I don’t care about the Premier League and the Carabao Cup. We cannot win. We won a lot so it’s not a problem.
‘The problem is behaviour, perform like we have done. Always we are focused on that. So Carabao Cup is out [shrugs shoulders], it doesn’t matter, but we didn’t perform how we are – and today we performed.’
Asked to clarify his comments at his post-match press conference, he replied: ‘No come on, of course I care about the Premier League, but right now, after Southampton, if you don’t win you don’t win. So we are not going to win for the next 25 years everything.’
United boss Erik ten Hag was sympathetic to City’s complaints but felt the referees had interpreted the rules correctly given that Rashford did not touch the ball.
The Dutchman explained: ‘Yeah I can see that from the other side as well. But I think when you see the rules [it’s legal].
‘Of course it’s a confusing moment for the back-line of the opponent, but he followed the rules and he didn’t touch the ball and he was not interfering and then it’s a goal because Bruno came from the back. But I can see it from the other side as well.’
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