Pep Guardiola has hit out at former Manchester United players Patrice Evra and Dimitar Berbatov following their criticism of Manchester City in light of their Champions League exit to Real Madrid.
City were within minutes of a place in the Champions League final, but Rodrygo scored twice in injury-time to take the game to extra-time where Karim Benzema netted from the spot to send Real to the final in Paris.
Evra questioned Guardiola’s management style, saying the Catalan does not want his players to think for themselves.
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"Manchester City needs leaders, but Guardiola doesn't want leaders,” the Frenchman said. "He doesn't want personality. He's the leader. That's why when they're in trouble they don't want to. They don't have anyone on the pitch to help them.
"He chooses his teams like that, he can't train people with personality. He did it at Barcelona, but he builds his team to control everyone. When things go wrong, he always decides.”
Berbatov was equally critical, saying City showed the mentality of a small team in surrendering a lead in the dying moments.
“If a small team, who don't have that much talent and class concede two goals at the end of the game, we'll say it's because they are a small team with a small mindset and with no winning mentality,” Berbatov said. "With it happening to a team like Man City, I don't even know how to find the right words to explain how this team of all teams, with so many winners, can let in two goals after the 90 minutes in a Champions League semi-final.”
During his press conference ahead of the Premier League clash with West Ham, Guardiola took a swipe at the critics and said they did not show that kind of fight on the pitch - citing Barcelona’s wins over Manchester United in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals. Evra played the full 90 minutes in both matches, while Berbatov came off the bench in 2009 and missed out entirely on the latter.
“The character is the same that we lost in Madrid in the last few minutes,” Guardiola said. “Specialist former players like Berbatov and (Clarence) Seedorf, Patrice they weren't there. When I played against them I didn't see this kind of personality when we [Barcelona] destroyed them in the Champions League final versus United.
“It's the same character and personality.
"We don't have personality because we concede two goals in two minutes but we had two chances to score and we don't have personality. We have incredible personality. I'm sorry but I completely disagree about this.
“Personality is what we have done in the last five years, every three days. Maybe Liverpool win all four titles, maybe they win just one, but you say they don't have personality, character, they didn't do an incredible season?
“Even when they lost the Premier League by one or two points against us, they had a bad season? They don't have character? Of course they do.
“Sometimes football happens. You cannot control it, emotion, many things.
"When we are constantly arriving in the latter stages, semi-finals, finals last four, five years. This is incredible, because we arrive until the end, a lot of games, go through, this is the most important.”
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