Guardiola defends Klopp's pitch invasion as derby emotions run high
The Liverpool boss ran onto the Anfield pitch when his scored a winner against Everton and his Man City counterpart is no stranger to such controversy
Pep Guardiola understands the emotion that led to Jurgen Klopp tearing onto the pitch to celebrate Liverpool’s dramatic Merseyside derby victory but acknowledged the importance of showing respect to opponents.
Klopp ran from the touchline to embrace goalkeeper Alisson after Divock Origi secured a 1-0 victory over Everton in the 96th minute that moved the Reds back to within two points of Manchester City at the Premier League summit.
Guardiola was at the centre of similar scenes last season when Raheem Sterling hit a stoppage-time winner against Southampton and told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s game at Watford that he regretted those actions.
“I did it against Southampton. There are a lot of emotions there in those moments. I know when I did it, I was not happy to do that,” he said.
“I can understand [Everton manager] Marco Silva, I can understand [former Southampton boss Mauricio] Pellegrini when it happened, but it is what it is.
“It is an emotional game, with everything happening in your heart and your mind and your body. I talk from my side, but you have to be respectful to the other ones.”
Guardiola knows the perception in such circumstances generally depends on whether you are on the winning or losing end of the equation.
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“When you win it is personality, when you lose it is a lack of respect,” he said. “When you do these things and you lose you are impolite. When you win, everything is acceptable.
“We live in the world where we make a lot of compliments just because we win.”
UEFA hopes its fast-tracked introduction of video assistant referees (VAR) from the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League will act as a way to avoid other controversies on football’s biggest club stage.
Guardiola welcomed Monday’s announcement and discussed recent inaccurate decisions in the competition that have gone for and against his side.
In last season’s 5-1 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals, Leroy Sane had a second-leg goal incorrectly ruled out for offside that would have reduced City’s deficit at the time to 3-2.
Last month, at the same end of the Etihad Stadium, Sterling was awarded a penalty despite clearly kicking the turf and falling over against Shakhtar Donetsk. Gabriel Jesus converted to make the Group F match 2-0 and City ran out 6-0 winners.
“I’m delighted about that. The Premier League is the last one,” Guardiola said, with VAR set to be used in England’s top flight from the 2019-20 campaign.
“This season, the second goal against Shakhtar was a ridiculous penalty. It’s not to talk about my benefit [and] what happened last season with [the referee in the Liverpool game, Antonio] Mateu Lahoz.
“Now with VAR, we are looking to make football better for decisions. I would say always the referees want to do a good job and want to do it well.
“In Spain and other places, it is going well. Maybe there will be mistakes and the next week we can solve those mistakes.
“Football is a game of mistakes, basically. That’s why we work a lot to avoid mistakes and the referees too. The referees want to do a good job.
“The decisions are sometimes [down to] a centimetre for ridiculous actions. There will be help. I’m glad for that.”