BigMatch

Sexy football no match for sex: Pep

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was asked for his reaction ahead of the Premier League home match against Manchester United, prompting him to laugh it off and respond: "I prefer the sex - by far."
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was asked for his reaction ahead of the Premier League home match against Manchester United, prompting him to laugh it off and respond: "I prefer the sex - by far." PHOTO: AFP

Spaniard plays down effusive praise of his coaching style ahead of Manchester derby

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has laughed off a suggestion that his coaching is "better than sex".

The comment was reportedly made by Paris Saint-Germain defender Dani Alves, who is promoting a documentary about his time at Barcelona playing under Guardiola.

Guardiola was asked for his reaction ahead of today's Premier League home match against Manchester United, prompting him to laugh it off and respond: "I prefer the sex - by far."

The question may have been due to a mistaken interpretation of something Alves said in Take The Ball, Pass The Ball, a documentary looking at Guardiola's time as Barcelona boss, which saw the Spanish club win the Champions League in 2009 and 2011.

Brazilian star Alves, referring to Barca's late winner against Chelsea in the 2009 semi-final, said: "It is because of moments like this that we all love football. The only thing that beats it is sex."

He is one of many players to have cited the City manager's coaching methods as inspirational, but Guardiola has played down such claims, making a passing reference to the struggles he had with former Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they were at Barcelona.

"I can see a huge list who are on the opposite side," said the Spaniard. "There is a list where they love me a lot, like Dani.

 
 
 

"They have another side from Sweden and other places where they don't like me too much."

His English champions have 29 points, nine above United going into today's Etihad Stadium clash.

However, memories are still fresh of United's remarkable win at the same venue in April, when they came from two down to win 3-2, forcing Guardiola to wait another week to win the title.

"Last season we lost, but every game is a new history and a new chapter," he said.

"We realise how strong United are. When they dominate and create chances they win easily, but you can have the feeling you are in control and they can still punish you.

"It's Manchester United - with Liverpool, they are one of the strongest teams in England's history."

He added that the bombshell allegations about City's financial conduct will not tarnish his team's reputation. A series of reports in German news magazine Der Spiegel claimed City artificially inflated sponsorship deals in order to comply with Uefa's financial fair play regulations.

Guardiola said on Tuesday he trusted the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners had acted honestly.

He added that his players' record-breaking title triumph last season should not be tainted by the claims, regardless of whether Uefa takes any further action.

"If they (the critics) want to undermine what we do, then no problem," the 47-year-old said.

"We live our lives and what we achieve, it will remain in our hearts.

"Like I said, I trust the people at the club and okay if there's something wrong we'll be punished.

"But I hear what my club said to me and I trust a lot of them."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MAN CITY V MAN UNITED
Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, tomorrow, 12.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 11, 2018, with the headline 'Sexy football no match for sex: Pep'. Print Edition | Subscribe