Pep Guardiola has insisted that Sergio Aguero’s red-card challenge, which sparked a fractious end to Manchester City’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, “was not intentional.”
Aguero was sent off for a two-footed tackle on David Luiz in injury time at the Etihad Stadium, while Fernandinho was also red-carded for pushing Cesc Fabregas over an advertising hoarding as both sides were embroiled in ugly scenes.
Aguero will now miss City’s next four Premier League games, having received a retrospective red card earlier in the season, while Fernandinho, who was sent off 10 days ago in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, is out for three games.
“It wasn’t intentional,” Guardiola told a news conference when asked about Aguero’s challenge. “Maybe I have to understand many things here but the referee says red card so red card. He was lost [suspended] before as well. OK, we are going to deal with that.”
City players appeared to lose their tempers after a series of controversial decisions from referee Anthony Taylor. Luiz could have been sent off for a challenge on Aguero in the first half as the Argentine looked to race through on goal, while Gary Cahill could have given away a penalty for handling the ball in the area.
But Guardiola refused to blame the officials and said he needs to get used to refereeing decisions in the Premier League.
“We didn’t win because we missed a lot of chances not because of the referee,” he added. “I never speak about the decisions. Always I can improve or focus on what can help my team. The result happens. There are many things in the last game.
“I will speak with my team about how we handle these situations. The way they handled the game they have to understand. It is completely different when I play in Italy from Spain, so I have to adapt to English football and understand it. But again, we didn’t win because we missed chances.”
City’s biggest miss came from Kevin De Bruyne when Guardiola’s side were already ahead through Cahill’s own goal. The Belgian hit the crossbar from five yards out, and within four minutes Diego Costa had levelled before Willian and Eden Hazard wrapped up the victory.
“This is a problem we have had all season. It is difficult for us to score goals. We concede them very easily and this is the same story,” Guardiola said.
“In the boxes we are not strong enough. Against Everton we missed two penalties. We played quite well today but the opponents arrive and score goals. When that happens, it is tough for the players.
“[Against] Crystal Palace, maybe we didn’t deserve to win. It is part of the process — to keep fighting keep winning. But I don’t have regrets.”
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