Manchester City gaffer Pep Guardiola has insisted that he does not set out his team to commit tactical fouls during matches. After Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer raised the issue for the third consecutive time as City prepared to take on his side, questions were put to Guardiola concerning the issue. The City boss refuted such claims insisting he doesn’t have the time to coach his players to do such.
But Solskjaer is not the only manager to accuse Guardiola of employing the strategy. It would be recalled that Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp have also accused City of making tactical fouls in the past. The Liverpool boss in particular used it as a way to get back to the City manager over his comments on Sadio Mane last November. But the City gaffer has dismissed the accusations as lacking any substance.
Former assistant manager Mikel Arteta was once seen instructing the players in the Amazon documentary series to make a foul if there’s a transition. That has been used by some as evidence to support the view. But Guardiola was adamant that is not his style, telling the reporter to go ask the new Arsenal boss about his comments. With many choosing to believe the assertions that the team commits such fouls on purpose in order to gain the advantage, the Catalan had to emphasize how far that is from the truth.
“Like I said many times, when I was in Barcelona and here, I have never in my life had a meeting with players to talk about tactical fouls,” Guardiola said.
“It’s simple. When you lose the ball, you have to make an incredible quick transition and sometimes you are late and in that second make a foul. If people can judge that our legacy will be tactical fouls then that’s their own problem, not ours.
“We have about 62 per cent average of the ball and you cannot make fouls when you have the ball. Normally, the guy that fouls is the guy that doesn’t have the ball. If it happens, it’s because the others are good and we are late but it’s a process,” he continued.
“Two years ago people said we didn’t do tackles and said how could we win the Premier League if I didn’t train tackles. ‘You have to do tackles, what are you doing in this country if you don’t do tackles?
“I don’t train tackles and I don’t train tactical fouls. There are a lot of things to do to improve teams and thinking about that is a waste of time. Sometimes you are late. Sometimes you want to dribble and the player doesn’t want you to dribble and makes a foul. It’s a yellow card if the referee thinks we deserve it and that’s all,” he concluded.
It’s understandable that those that dislike City’s success over the years will go to any length to discredit it. Although most people use money as their own way of explaining away the club’s success, others choose other things like tactical fouls. Whatever they say, what no one can take away from this club is that we have come to stay. And hopefully, we’ll not stop until we get to the summit of European football.