Pep Guardiola hit out at his critics for questioning the importance of Manchester City’s game with Club Brugge.
Speaking before their 4-1 victory over the Belgian side on Wednesday evening, Guardiola had described the match as “much more important than the United game”.
Some in the media reacted with consternation at the claim, despite it literally being a manager reciting the cliche that the next game is the most crucial.
Guardiola decided to issue a pointed response after a comfortable win which means Manchester City need just one more point to qualify from the group.
“The people were taking the p*ss for me saying today was more important than United – and it was. But now the most important game ever is Man Utd.
“For me, today was really important because in the Premier League we have 28 games left. Here, there are just six games to play, to qualify, then just three and now two.
“This was incredibly important and people say, ‘No, Pep, that’s bullsh*t!’. No. It’s not. It’s so important, today. And we won it, that’s why we’re in a good position.”
Asked whether he was frustrated with being consigned to the dreaded Wednesday evening to Saturday lunchtime turnaround for the Manchester derby, Guardiola replied: “No. If it was tomorrow we would play tomorrow.
“The schedule is the schedule, sometimes we play Tuesday, sometimes Friday. Sometimes it is 12.30 or sometimes 5.30pm. I am pretty sure at 12.30 on Saturday we will be at Old Trafford.
“When you are Manchester City you realise nobody helps you – no one.
“Everything we have done, we have to do it. That is why I am so satisfied. When you are in big clubs, after that, I understand. Maybe. Here no. If we win, we do it. I know it perfectly (because) all the titles I won before I did at big clubs.”
Put to him that such apparent scheduling obstacles makes City victories feel even greater, Guardiola said: “Absolutely. The pleasure is higher.”
Guardiola seemed frustrated at being asked to clarify his points in a post-match press conference: “Listen, don’t misunderstand me. What I’m saying is what we’ve done, we did it, we deserved it. We did it for ourselves. That is so good and that is why I’m very pleased.
“We don’t have to be helped, absolutely not. We have to do it for ourselves. Three or four years ago, I said it many times to the players. So we have to do it for ourselves and that’s why it is nice.
“These six points against Brugge were so important and we are one step closer to qualifying.”
Pressed once more as to what he felt other teams were getting help with that Manchester City were not, Guardiola understandably started to lose his patience.
“Listen, we play a football game. We want it. We lost against Crystal Palace but we deserve it because Crystal Palace was better. I’m saying we won 100 points, 98 points and all the titles we won, all the little details that happened, is because we did it. We did it.”