Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will not change his habit of coaching his players on the pitch in the immediate aftermath of games despite Roy Keane’s claim that it is “all for show”.
Guardiola was seen talking to Erling Haaland after last Sunday’s 3-0 Manchester derby win at Old Trafford, going over the first-half header City’s top scorer had missed and the almost identical second-half opportunity the Norwegian buried.
It is something Guardiola has done for years – he had a similar animated chat with Haaland on the pitch at Burnley at the start of the season, and back in 2019 interrupted City’s celebrations after their 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford to make a point to Raheem Sterling.
Former United captain Roy Keane was unimpressed last weekend, saying on Sky Sports that Guardiola was doing it for the cameras and should “get down the tunnel, enjoy your victory”, but the City boss said he often wants to make his point while it is still fresh.
“I respect a lot Roy Keane,” Guardiola 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.
“At that moment I was outside, wanted to (celebrate) with the fans, especially away. For the fans United is an important game.
“We chat about the second goal, the miss for the last minute (of the first half) with the (Andre) 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 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 could have done it inside, of course. I’ve done it many times in the locker room – look at that image, that action.
“It’s fresh, the players have that image in the moment. Sometimes you make the impact that remains here (in the head).”
Haaland’s brace at Old Trafford took him to 13 goals in 15 games for City this season.
The 23-year-old hit 52 in all competitions last season, his first in England, when a player who had often suffered niggling injuries at Borussia Dortmund benefitted from a month off during the World Cup break.
There will be no such opportunity this time around but Guardiola said he had no concerns over his star man’s fitness at present.
“He’s so important for us, he feels really fit now,” Guardiola said. “Sometimes he had niggles, he came from Dortmund. Now it’s completely the opposite, he feels free.
“Today I saw him training with incredible energy. I don’t think about March, April, May. We try to win games to be contenders for the competitions.
“We will see, if he goes down, he takes a rest. Now, he’s feeling good. Having him on the pitch gives us confidence and is an incredible threat…
“He scored a lot of goals, every game he has a lot of chances to score more. So incredible, a lovely player for us. We use him a lot.”