MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Apr 7 – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola shrugged off suggestions his “so polite” side were involved in a heated row with Chelsea’s stars following a 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge.
Tempers are said to have flared in the tunnel after Wednesday’s defeat that left City 14 points off top spot when an insult in Italian was allegedly directed towards the visitors.
Staff and players from both sides were said to have been involved before calm was restored.
“The tunnel at Chelsea is so tight — come on, it was nothing,” Guardiola told media on Friday.
“We congratulate Chelsea for the victory, we are so polite in our defeats. And especially we are so polite when we win, especially that.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, speaking at a separate news conference, said he was unaware of any incident before adding: “The respect is always important. I think this is the most important thing in football.
“I think there is a winner and there is a loser and both must accept the final result and show respect.”
Guardiola’s much-anticipated first season in the Premier League has been a disappointment given the expectations that were heaped on his shoulders at the start of the campaign.
Defeat at Chelsea means the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has lost six league games in a season for the first time as a manager.
City face Hull at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday without a win in four league games — having also been knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco during that spell — and now face a challenge to make sure they qualify for the Champions League.
They are fourth in the table, four points ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United, who both have a game in hand, with Guardiola’s only chance of silverware this season now the FA Cup.
City face Arsenal in the semi-finals at Wembley on April 23.
“The situation is clear — eight games left and we need to qualify for the top four and that is our target for the end of the season,” said Guardiola.
“I was expecting from the beginning of the season to fight for the Premier League until the end. OK, we are a little bit disappointed, but I am quite happy with the way we made good things in this season.”
Guardiola warned that Hull, rejuvenated under manager Marco Silva, will present a tough challenge as they bid to avoid relegation.
“I know him from the Champions League when he was a manager in Greece and I was at Bayern Munich,” he said. “He’s making an outstanding job, not only great results — I like the way they play.
“Not just long balls, a lot of quality.”