Guardiola vows to punish critics

Toure was told by Guardiola this week that his City career is over -unless his outspoken representative apologises.

Published: 24th September 2016 08:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2016 03:05 PM   |  A+A-


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola takes his seat in the dugout before the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. | AP

LONDON:  Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that if any of their relatives or representatives talk out of turn they will not play for the club.

The City manager, who is targeting a 10th straight win away to Swansea City today, believes his team would unravel if he allowed critics such as Yaya Toure's agent to go unpunished, and has insisted he enforces strict discipline to safeguard the long-terms interests of the club.

Toure was told by Guardiola this week that his City career is over -unless his outspoken representative, Dimitri Seluk, apologises for accusing him of "humiliating" the midfielder by omitting him from his Champions League squad.

Seluk has so far refused to back down, and renewed his attack on Guardiola by claiming he would issue an apology only if the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said sorry for taking Manuel Pellegrini's job and ousting goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Guardiola has wasted little time laying down the law since taking over as City manager in July. In -addition to banishing Toure, he has sent Hart on loan to Torino, banned overweight players from training, offloaded underperformers such as Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and -Eliaquim Mangala, and is facing another big decision over the future of his injury-plagued captain, Vincent Kompany.

But the Catalan is adamant that such an approach is vital for the long-term good of the club, who will move to within one victory of equalling the best start to a season by an English club - set by Tottenham in 1960/61 - should they overcome Swansea.

"Yes," Guardiola said when asked if everyone was clear where they stood with him. "I don't know whether they agree or not, but what happens in my team, in the squad, I am the chief. I'm the manager and I'm going to decide. Not for me, I don't like to do that. But it's the best for the club."

Guardiola added: "The club cannot accept an agent talking in the media about the decision of the club. The club is not going to accept that. And the players know that [if] the agents, the wives, the fathers, the sons [are] talking about something which is not a good benefit for the club, they will not be part of the team. They will not be part of the team. The most important thing is the club."

City do not know when Kompany will be back playing, after the -Belgium defender suffered another groin injury in the EFL Cup win over Swansea on Wednesday. Guardiola has already warned Kompany that he will be of use to him only if he can prove his fitness.




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