MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola has defended Jurgen Klopp’s celebrations after Liverpool’s dramatic late win in the Merseyside derby.
The Liverpool boss ran onto the pitch to celebrate Divock Origi’s stoppage time winner as Liverpool closed the gap on his league leaders to two points.
Guardiola was warned by the Football Association after his reaction to last season’s 2-1 victory over Southampton but the City boss said that he understands if opposing coaches might be upset.
“I did it. Against Southampton, there’s a lot of emotions in those moments,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City’s trip to Watford on Tuesday. “I know when I did it I was not happy to have done it, so I can understand Marco [Silva], [Mauricio] Pellegrino when it happens, but sometimes it’s what it is, an emotional game.
“Everything happens in your mind, I talk for my side, you have to be respectful for the other ones.
“When you win you are a huge personality when you lose it’s a lack of respect. When you lose you are impolite, a bad guy, and when you win everything is acceptable. We live in a world where everyone judges the winners and it’s just that we win. That’s what it is.”
City can reopen a five-point gap at the top of the table with victory at Watford on Tuesday night, 24 hours before Liverpool are in action.
Guardiola is waiting for late checks on Sergio Aguero, who missed Saturday’s win over Bournemouth, and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who suffered a suspected broken nose in that game. Kevin De Bruyne is also ruled out, though Guardiola said that he has returned to first team training after a knee injury.
Aguero’s absence has been helped by the form of Raheem Sterling, who is only behind Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the goalscoring charts, but Guardiola has challenged him to do even more.
“He can do better,” he said. “We are so delighted with what he’s done in three years but he can do better.
“[He can be] more consistent, his first controls, his receptions, many things. I’ve said many times we are delighted but he can do better.”
Meanwhile Guardiola has welcomed the decision to introduce Video Assistant Referee (VAR) from the round-of-16 in this season’s Champions League.
A couple of decisions would have been overturned in last season’s quarterfinal exit to Liverpool if VAR was in use, and he now wants the Premier League to follow suit.
“It’s welcome,” Guardiola said. “I’m delighted with that, the Premier League is the last one and sooner or later it will happen.
“This season, the second goal against Shakhtar was a ridiculous penalty, so it’s not to talk about just my benefit or to talk about what happened last season with Mateu Lahoz [the referee against Liverpool].
“The only thing we want from VAR is to make better football decisions. Most of the times, I would say always, the ref want to do a good job. Everyone makes mistakes and they will be helped.”