Pep Guardiola says Man City were ‘lucky’ to avoid injuries against West Brom while Alan Pardew believes the Spaniard’s comments last weekend affected the crowd at the Etihad.
Following the row over some strong challenges on their players during the FA Cup win over Cardiff at the weekend, there was again controversy over tackles with City substitute Brahim Diaz caught by a high, studs-up challenge from Matt Phillips.
At Cardiff, Guardiola reiterated his oft-repeated call for referees to give players better protection after a bad tackle on Leroy Sane. Sane is facing up to seven weeks on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage.
James McClean was also booked for a cynical attempt to foul De Bruyne in the build-up to the second goal.
Guardiola said: “We were lucky. We could have been unlucky, like with what happened three or four days ago with Leroy. The image can speak for itself. I repeat what I said after the previous game. It was not necessary.”
Opposite number Alan Pardew did not excuse Phillips’ tackle but he felt Guardiola’s recent remarks had affected the atmosphere.
Pardew said: “He’s a winger and in desperate situations wingers can make poor challenges. It was a poor challenge, make no mistake about that.
“But I thought Pep’s comments at the weekend affected the crowd. Every challenge they were saying, ‘You’re not protecting our players, referee’.”
The result left the Baggies three points adrift at the foot of the table.
Pardew said: “It was a tough night. Against that kind of quality, we found it very difficult to get the pace of the game.
“We couldn’t do it. We never knocked the wind out of their sails. They were absolutely terrific.”
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