League One outfit Wigan Athletic was all that stood between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Southampton.
The Premier League leaders are going for an unprecedented quadruple, with Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Arsenal the first opportunity to land some silverware.
Wigan may be playing in the third tier of English football but Guardiola wasn’t prepared to take them lightly.
The Man City boss named a very strong starting line-up that included David Silva, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero.
And it quickly became clear that the Citizens would need their best players on the pitch; Wigan made a positive start to the match and went close through Will Grigg.
Delph was sent off in the first half
And their spirits were further lifted when Fabian Delph was sent off in the second minute of first half injury-time.
The Man City left-back was shown a straight red card after going in hard on Max Power.
The Wigan midfielder went flying and his teammates quickly surrounded referee Anthony Taylor.
Taylor took a yellow card out of his pocket but then proceeded to show Delph a red and City were down to 10 men.
Guardiola was fuming with the decision
The decision split fans on social media but one man who was incensed was Guardiola, who went at it with Wigan boss Paul Cook.
The BBC’s tunnel cam captured the pair continuing their skirmish at half-time, with staff trying to keep them away from one another.
Yet he's called for more pteoction
Clearly, Guardiola was angry that Taylor saw fit to send Delph off. And yet this is the same manager who called for more protection for footballers just a matter of weeks ago.
After Leroy Sane and Brahim Diaz were the victims of nasty challenges in City’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Cardiff on January 28, Guardiola said: “I said many times: the only thing they [referees] have to do is protect the players.
“Please protect the players. Not the Manchester City players, [all] the players. Because it’s not that one is more brave to kick, no… The only thing they can do is that: protect the players. Or it will happen again, it will happen again.”
As fans on Twitter have pointed out, it seems rich for Guardiola to demand more protection, only to complain when one of his players produces a rash challenge and is sent off.
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