Pep Guardiola wants more protection for his Manchester City players

first_imgManchester City Share via Email Read more Vardy and Mahrez fluff lines and Manchester City win penalty shootout Topics Share on Pinterest Reuse this content news Pep Guardiolacenter_img Pep Guardiola has appealed for more protection for his players from referees following incidents in the last league game against Tottenham when Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling could have been seriously injured.“Kevin and Raheem were both lucky in that game,” the Manchester City manager said of foul challenges by Harry Kane and Dele Alli. “We were lucky on that occasion but in the cup game against Leicester in midweek we were unlucky because Phil Foden damaged ankle ligaments and could now be out for a month or more. We play in an aggressive way and we have to accept that sometimes we get injured, but the main thing is for referees to protect the players by enforcing the rules.”Guardiola does not believe opponents are deliberately targeting City’s most skilful players, just that referees need to be more watchful and aware of the speed of the modern game. “I don’t believe players go out to injure fellow professionals. But the football we play is fast and aggressive and the referees have to follow the rules. Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp “The physicality in England is stronger and you have to deal with that. You have to be strong enough to match the physicality of your opponents, and that’s where the referees need to control what is a foul and what is not a foul. Kevin especially could have been out for a long time, but I am not suggesting Alli and Kane are dangerous players. They are both top players, but sometimes this can happen when both teams are fighting to win.“I am not just asking for protection for my players but for all players. We were lucky against Tottenham when Nicolás Otamendi put his leg high against Kane; he didn’t mean to do that but Kane could have been injured. He deserved protection. It was the same earlier in the season when Sadio Mané fouled Ederson.“He didn’t hate the goalkeeper, I’m pretty sure of that, and he didn’t mean to kick him in the face, but you need the referee to apply the rules in that situation and then the players have protection.”City, who have Vincent Kompany ready to return over the festive periods and expect to see John Stones again in the new year, entertain Bournemouth on Saturday 17 games after their winning streak began with a late – 97th-minute – Sterling goal at Dean Court.“No one was expecting us to win 16 games in a row at that moment,” Guardiola said. “We had drawn at home with Everton in the previous game and we were happy to score a late winner against Bournemouth because after that came the international break and when that was over we had to face Liverpool. I had no idea back in August that we would have so many points now, I’m glad to be where we are but I didn’t expect it.“Winning 16 games in a row is not normal, it is not a situation I am used to, and I am sure we will drop points at some stage. When we do it is all about how we react, but until that happens we are going to fight to stay unbeaten. You could see that in the way we played against Leicester, Tottenham and Swansea.“The players showed me they are still hungry to keep winning games, but I still say the title race is not over. I have too much respect for the other teams. Chelsea have played 10, won eight, drawn one and lost one. Those are numbers to be champions. Manchester United are the same – they are having an amazing season. We are only halfway through, one draw or defeat could still change things.” Share on Twitterlast_img read more