United striker Ibrahimovic brands Guardiola ‘immature’

Joe Williams

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has discussed his time working under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and has branded the Spaniard “immature”.

The Swede came off the bench in the last 15 minutes of the Red Devils’ 2-1 loss to Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday – with the Citizens taking an 11-point lead in the Premier League title race.

During a reported post-match brawl, the City players are claimed to have wound up the striker by saying: “Ibra, you talk a lot but you move a little!”

Both sets of players and coaching staff were said to be involved as tempers flared around the away dressing room at Old Trafford, while Mikel Arteta received a cut to his head.

And Ibrahimovic has commented on his year under Guardiola at La Liga giants Barcelona, with the striker claiming the pair had “problems”.

“I’d scored a lot of goals in my first six months [at Barcelona] and we won two Super Cups. The first six months were perfect,” Ibrahimovic said on Sky Sport Italia’s ‘The Lords of Football’.

“After that, we changed system and tactics, and it wasn’t good for me, so the club told me to talk to Guardiola.

“And I told Guardiola that he’d sacrificed the other players for Messi. He told me he understood me.

“After that, he put me on the bench for the next game, the one after that and the one after that.

“And I thought, ‘he’s solved the problem very well I see!’ After that, he didn’t talk to me or even look at me.

“I’d walk into a room and he’d walk out. I’d go to meet him and he’d go somewhere else. I understood that there was something beyond football.

“But the problem was his, it was he who hadn’t solved the problem with me. I remember on my first day, he told me that the Barcelona players didn’t turn up to training in Ferraris or Porsches.

“He’d already judged me then, but if you don’t know a person then you can’t judge them. I had my experience with him, I don’t know about others.

“But I read the same thing had happened to [Mario] Mandzukic and [Samuel] Eto’o.

“He wasn’t the worst coach I’d worked under, but he was certainly the most immature because a man solves his problems.”