Pep Guardiola knocked back criticism of his behaviour on the field as the Manchester City manager insisted he never plans to sound out players at the final whistle.
As the two left the field at Old Trafford on Sunday, Guardiola was spotted having a lengthy conversation with star striker Erling Haaland. They were talking about Haaland’s heading technique against United goalkeeper Andre Onana. The Norwegian changed his pace and scored with a similar attempt at the start of the second half after his first half effort was saved.
It wasn’t the first time Haaland and Guardiola had left the field in such a manner that week as they did it after the Young Boys game, while the pair made headlines after a heated conversation at Burnley on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. Former United pundit Roy Keane accused Guardiola of doing it for show on Sunday and said it was a conversation that didn’t need to take place on the pitch.
Speaking following the Old Trafford win, Keane told Sky Sports: “It’s all for show. It’s all for show. You can have that chat in the dressing room. What’s the big deal?
“It was a lovely header but you don’t need to be on the pitch talking about it for five minutes. Just get down the tunnel and enjoy your victory.”
Guardiola accepted the view, and has nothing against Keane. However, the Catalan also is not trying to put on a performance after a game but says that sometimes his comments come out on the pitch.
“I respect Roy Keane a lot,” he said.
“Sometimes I finish the game and go inside, sometimes I stay there. When I find a player we chat about the game. I know the camera is there, it is everywhere. I could tell him when we were inside but at that moment I was outside because I wanted to be with the fans, especially away. For the fans, United is an important game.
“We chatted about the second goal, the miss for the last minute with the Onana action. He could be better, stronger. The header [could be] stronger to put the ball in the back of the net with more power.
“It happened with Erling in Burnley. I can avoid it. Maybe Roy is right but it happens. I don’t need at my age to do something for the people. Sometimes I go inside, sometimes I say ‘hi’ to the referees. It’s what I feel in the moment. I don’t think after the game to go to the players to do some spectacle for the people. I’m old enough already.
“I’ve done it all my career. I did it at Bayern sometimes with [Joshua] Kimmich. It depends on the moment but it is not to make us feel how special we are.
“I don’t overreact or did something for people. We were happy, we have to admit it. I was happy for the way we played. The result gives confidence for the way we play. We are in a good way.
“After we review the game and analyse the reason why we played good. I was really happy in that moment, I found Erling, make a comment, he make feedback and another comment and another comment. We were walking. I could have done inside of course.
“I’ve done it many times in the locker room to look at that image but I think it’s fresh the players have that image in the moment. Sometimes when you have that the image remains here [head]. Afterwards they might have three days off and forget it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t happen because I go inside.”