Pep Guardiola responds to Gary Neville claiming Manchester City are ‘clever’ in the ‘dark arts’

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City look more than capable of adding to the Premier League title and League Cup already won during his tenure.

Aiming for their third league crown in six years, the Sky Blues are currently a point behind Liverpool ahead of their meeting with Southampton at the Etihad on Sunday.

Guardiola has watched his side score 27 goals in ten outings so far this season, making them the most potent attacking side in the country.

What’s more, the Premier League champions haven’t conceded in league action since hosting Newcastle United in a 2-1 win at home on 1 September.

It really is difficult to pick out any real flaws in this fine-tuned machine Guardiola has crafted.

Gary Neville, however, has claimed City have a tendency to bend the rules yet get away with it.

Speaking alongside Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football, he said: “Every time a team wins the ball back and counter attacks, they foul you.

“There’s a lot of cynicism about his team, which I like. I like it because the reality of it is, they’re clever with it as well. It isn’t just pure, wonderful football.

"There’s a lot of what would be the ‘dark arts’ in there as well in terms of how they play.”

So, even though Neville was actually paying a compliment, it was always going to be interesting if Guardiola elected to respond.

Manchester City v Fulham - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Now, he has - and it seems the 47-year-old doesn’t see eye to eye with the Manchester United legend.

“I do not agree with that at all,” Guardiola said when asked about Neville’s analysis, per the Guardian.

“We are not a team that goes looking for these type of situations and I would never ask my players to deliberately foul an opponent. That never happened at Barcelona or Bayern Munich and it will never happen here.

“It is not a secret that when we lose the ball we like to win it back quickly and if you watch us play you can see that when the opponents have the ball we are going to push them and press then to try and regain possession.

“As Gary Neville knows very well, opponents are not going to stand still and let you do that, they are going to try to play too, so sometimes there will be contacts and sometimes you arrive late.

“I do not say we are perfect, we do commit fouls, and on a pitch like the one Spurs had at Wembley there might be more contact than normal but I don’t think anyone can say we are a team that commits a lot of fouls.”

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League

Most managers would take offence to someone claiming their team practices the dark arts, whether it’s meant as a compliment or otherwise.

Guardiola is no different, but he definitely won’t be letting anyone’s opinion change the way City are playing football at present.

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