Liverpool vs Manchester City: Yaya Toure reveals Pep Guardiola's anger after Anfield defeat

The Ivorian midfielder revealed that Guardiola can be 'a manager who is angry'

Tim Rich
Monday 02 January 2017 00:12
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Guardiola was normally top of the league with Barcelona and Bayern Munich
Guardiola was normally top of the league with Barcelona and Bayern Munich

Outside the away dressing room at Anfield, Pep Guardiola could be seen talking animatedly to one of his oldest friends in the game, Manchester City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain.

Inside the dressing room, the Manchester City manager had been as angry as he can have been in his first Premier League season. As the last hours of 2016 dribbled away, Liverpool had scored the kind of goal Guardiola might have predicted and clung on to their precious points without undue difficulty.

“When you are losing and Liverpool are the better side, it’s not going to be happy at half time,” said Yaya Toure as the veteran midfielder left the ground. “Of course, he was angry and he is a manager who can be angry.

“We knew Liverpool would be waiting when we lost the ball and they did that to score. He will be angry for everything that is happening.”

This was Manchester City’s third defeat in a calendar month. They had not suffered those kinds of results since 2008, the year of the Abu Dhabi takeover.

This new year opened with Manchester City in third place, 10 points adrift of Chelsea, four behind Liverpool and, whether as a player or a manager, Guardiola’s career has never been about being third.

“Normally, I was top,” he said with a thin smile. “I was there a lot of times with Barcelona and Bayern Munich but this is a new chapter in my career but I am willing to try to handle it.

“I was one time at Barcelona nine points behind Real Madrid and after that we recovered. I once won a league after being 12 points behind.

“But the question is: ‘Are we able to reduce the gap on Chelsea?’ We have to focus on the next game and not put a lot of stress on things by saying: ‘If you don’t win the league, that is not going to be a good season’.”

Guardiola must be aware that unless he wins the European Cup – something he did not achieve while at Bayern Munich – anything less than first place at City would be counted a failure.

The worry was that while Liverpool played exactly as their manager, Jurgen Klopp, would have expected, Manchester City looked less of a Guardiola team at Anfield than they have done at any time during the season.

Kevin de Bruyne seemed spent while Sergio Aguero did not touch the ball in the Liverpool box at all.

“I don’t think you can overlook the performance of Liverpool or detract from it,” said Toure. “They deserved the three points. They are improving, they have a good manager, they play good football and they do it well. They are a counter-attacking team, very fast, very dangerous.”

Assessing Manchester City was rather more difficult. When asked when City would start looking like the kind of teams he was usually associated with, Guardiola replied: “I don’t know. I can’t tell you that. Jurgen has been here more than one season, I have been here just six months and the way we want to play in the league is not that simple.

“We need more time but I am an optimistic guy so I am going to try.”

Gabriel Jesus arrived at City in the early hours on Sunday morning 

In the small hours of the new year, after Klopp had finished walking his dog and gone to bed having skipped any kind of partying, Manchester City received their first reinforcement when Gabriel Jesus arrived from Brazil.

In Pele’s judgement, the 19-year-old from Sao Paulo is a greater natural talent than Neymar and he may have to be used sooner rather than later. Manchester City now require a string of victories.

Toure pointed out that New Year’s Day 2014 saw City produce a thrilling sequence of results – eight wins and a draw from nine games with 33 goals. “We have the team and we have the squad to do something similar,” he said.

Three years ago the gap was a point and the leaders were an Arsenal team with a well-established reputation for flakiness under fire. This year it is 10 and the leaders are the remorseless machine Antonio Conte has built at Chelsea. There is no comparison.

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