Pep Guardiola has accused Jurgen Klopp of ‘finding excuses’, as tempers flare ahead of a crucial clash at Anfield on Sunday.
Guardiola’s Manchester City are currently the in-form side in the Premier League and have enjoyed a remarkable 20-game unbeaten run in all competitions, despite having been impacted by a Covid-19 outbreak at the turn of the year.
Multiple positive coronavirus tests among both staff and players left City without a number of key men, forcing them to postpone their fixture with Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton on December 28th, with the Toffees unhappy with the manner of the postponement.
While many would credit Guardiola’s side for continuing to get results despite having been affected by the virus, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp perhaps sees thing differently, the German stating that City have perhaps benefited from an extended break caused by their Covid-19 outbreak.
“We didn’t have a break, I think City had a two-week break for Covid reasons,” Klopp said.
“It’s really tough, it’s a tough year, a tough season, I know for some teams it looks like lesser, but for us obviously for the reasons you know, it’s tough.”
In truth, despite having something of an enforced break due to their postponement, City in fact only had eight days between their boxing day fixture against Newcastle and their clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on January 3rd, while their training ground was also closed for some of that period.
Unsurprisingly, Guardiola was irked by his counterpart’s statement, the former Barcelona boss insisting that Klopp was merely making excuses for his own side’s poor form.
“It’s finding excuses [to moan],” Guardiola responded at his pre-match press conference. “When I complain to my players or when you complain, you find an excuse and when you have excuses you cannot move forward. Excuses are the worst in the world in football, in sport.
“So I’m not judging what the other managers said but the comment, what Jürgen said – “two weeks off” – the purpose I don’t know. You have to ask him. Or I will ask him on Sunday the reason why he is saying that.
“Sometimes we do it [say something strange] when it can be difficult for managers right after a game. Five minutes later you are so excited for a good thing or bad thing – it’s not easy for us. But when we are relaxed in [a pre-match] press conference and say something to [provoke]: I never did it.
“Well, I did it maybe once or twice for an exceptional reason but to [provoke]. Only I am concerned about the game, what we have to do to beat the opponents.
“From my lessons in football – finding an excuse: you cannot move forward, and sometimes I did it, I have to admit it, but it was a mistake for sure.”
Read – Ilkay Gundogan: The unlikely spearhead of Man City’s title charge
See also – Five of the best games between Guardiola and Klopp teams