Pep Guardiola has defended Sergio Aguero after the striker was criticized for touching lineswoman Sian Massey-Ellis during Saturday’s win over Arsenal.
Aguero found himself at the centre of controversy just before half-time at the Etihad Stadium after he took exception to Massey-Ellis signalling a throw-in for Arsenal, when the striker believed it should have been City’s ball.
The striker confronted Massey-Ellis and grabbed her by the shoulder near her neck, before his arm brushed across her back. Massey-Ellis reacted by swatting Aguero’s arm away from her.
The incident caused plenty of strong reactions, with many believing the veteran striker had touched Massey-Ellis in an inappropriate fashion.
If that had been a linesman that Aguero had grabbed like that, he would have been shown at least a yellow card, but because it was a woman, Guardiola attempted to downplay the incident after the match:
“Come on guys. Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one,” the Man City manager told reporters.
Guardiola also spoke about the importance of City’s win, which came after an indifferent start to the season.
Saturday’s win was only City’s second in four Premier League matches, with the 2018-19 champions also recording a 1-1 draw against Leeds and a 5-2 defeat to Leicester City.
“It was a tight game as we expected. It was for our heads, so important this victory, for the problems that we have,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“In the game against Leeds, Ederson made outstanding saves and again today.
“What we have done today, without the ball, defending together. I think Nathan [Ake] and Ruben [Dias] were incredible, and Kyle [Walker] as a central defender.
“We could not train one session on the build-up [with this back three]. We need more time to grow as a team, but it’s okay.
“I think this game is going to help us to make a step forward.”
The result was Guardiola’s 500th victory of his coaching career, including his stint in charge of Barcelona B.
Guardiola’s side are next in action with their Champions League opener against Porto on Wednesday before they return to their Premier League schedule with a match against West Ham next weekend.