Guardiola shrugs off Solskjaer’s ‘foul’ claims before derby

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola before the match. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions by Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that his Manchester City players use tactical fouls high up the pitch, to disrupt their opponents’ rhythm and stop them launching counterattacks.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League Manchester derby, Solskjaer warned United that City would press hard and foul them in areas of the pitch where they were less likely to receive yellow cards.

“We’ve got to be ready for their pressing so we’ve got to defend well, got to be ready for (their) aggression. They will snap at your heels and kick you,” Solskjaer said. “There will be fouls, absolutely no doubt about it.

“You don’t get the yellow cards (there), do you?

“But that’s just because they commit so many players forward and you can clearly see that they’ve got them in that mould of trying to win the ball back, and they do make fouls.”

Guardiola said Solskjaer’s comments could be viewed as an attempt to influence referee Andre Marriner, who will be in charge of the game at Old Trafford.

“That is the reason why, of course,” the Spaniard told reporters. “But I don’t think it will be successful because we don’t do it.

“My side is not built like that, not at all. In 10 seasons as a manager, I never prepared for a game thinking about these things. Never!

“In football, you sometimes (foul) because the actions are so fast. But I never said we should do it to punish an opponent or cancel them.”

City are two points behind leaders Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title and winning their game in hand at sixth-placed United will lift them to the top of the standings with three games remaining.(Reuters/NAN)