Pep Guardiola has again insisted he does not condone tactical fouling.
Accusations that Guardiola’s Manchester City side are prepared to foul to prevent an attack have recurred throughout the Spaniard’s tenure at the Etihad Stadium.
Last season Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer raised the subject ahead of a derby and his remarks were met with a firm rebuttal from Guardiola.
Solskjaer was asked about the matter again on the eve of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against City at Old Trafford.
This time the Norwegian spoke in more general terms about how a “few teams have stopped us with those little fouls” and conceded in the last derby that “there weren’t too many”. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, he also made a point of saying he did not bring it up this time.
Guardiola remains firm in his position.
The City manager said: “I have said many times, when I was at Barcelona and here, I have never in my life had a meeting where I have talked to my players about tactical fouls.
“It happens sometimes because you are late and because they are so fast, and they are so quick, that you make a foul.
“It’s simple – you lose the ball and they make incredible fast transitions and sometimes you are late and in that second you make a foul.
“If people judge our legacy is tactical fouling it is their problem not ours.”
It was pointed out to Guardiola that there is a scene in the fly-on-the-wall Amazon documentary ‘All or Nothing’, shot during the 2017-18 season, when then assistant boss Mikel Arteta appeared to encourage players to foul in certain situations.
Guardiola was cryptic on the matter.
“So you have to go to London and to ask Mikel,” said Guardiola of Arteta, who recently left City to become Arsenal manager.
Asked if he was not aware of what Arteta said, Guardiola said: “I didn’t say that!”
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