Advertisement

Pep Guardiola: It is ‘good’ Kevin De Bruyne got angry with me for being substituted at Anfield

Kevin De Bruyne rows with Pep Guardiola after being substituted against Liverpool
Kevin De Bruyne (left) was upset with Pep Guardiola after being substituted - Reuters/Carl Recine

Pep Guardiola argued it was “good” that Kevin De Bruyne was annoyed at being substituted during Manchester City’s 1-1 draw away to Liverpool and that it was up to the midfielder to “prove how wrong I was” to take him off.

De Bruyne was clearly angered by the decision, after 69 minutes, when he was replaced by Mateo Kovacic and with City losing control of the game.

The Belgium international voiced his discontent to Guardiola before taking his place on the bench. “I like it. If he’s upset it’s good. He’s happy now… I knew what we were missing. Afterwards we did better,” Guardiola said. “What can I say to Kevin? He’s important and we need him. But in the second half, after we had conceded a goal, the game was not in our hands and we had to do something to give it back to us.”

Kevin De Bruyne vents his frustration at the Manchester City manager
The Belgian vented his frustration at the Manchester City manager - AP/Jon Super

Guardiola insisted that De Bruyne would have “a chance next game” (the FA Cup quarter-final at home to Newcastle United) to make his point. “We need a player who keeps the ball. It’s not about pressing. It’s not about his play, that why’s Mateo is really good at that… We were happy with Kevin. It’s not a problem. We’re fine,” he added.

Even so, the manager did continue the discussion, clearly trying to calm the 32-year-old, after De Bruyne had taken his seat. “It’s not a problem… we’re fine,” Guardiola insisted, with the decision to bring on Kovacic vindicated as he helped City wrestle back some control.

Kevin De Bruyne also makes his feelings clear to the Man City coaching staff
De Bruyne also made his feelings clear to the City coaching staff - Getty Images/Michael Regan

In fairness, De Bruyne was not the only player unhappy to be taken off in such an intense game with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez shaking his head slowly as he walked to the touchline when he was replaced after 76 minutes.

“First-half we had momentum, lots of chances first-half. And after we gave away the penalty, we suffered. It was a good game for the spectators,” Guardiola said.

City will have been disappointed to be pegged back after taking an early lead but Guardiola said he was satisfied with the points. “I know how difficult it is at Anfield,” he said, adding: “It is difficult at Etihad too, Liverpool have not won there in eight years. We prove, both sides we are incredible competitors. I would prefer a win but they prove for many years the quality they have. It was good from everyone.”

The fixture was the last time that Guardiola will face Jurgen Klopp at Anfield with the Liverpool manager stepping down at the end of the season. “We wouldn’t need a hug to show that [respect]. He defends his club, I defend mine,” Guardiola said. “Our history speaks for itself. We still have 10 games to go, many things can happen.”

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.