If you were to search the names ‘Riyad Mahrez’ and ‘Jack Grealish’ in Twitter you’d be treated to a wide range of opinions on Pep Guardiola’s touchline antics on Wednesday night.
The Catalan tactician is one of the most decorated coaches in the game, boasting a plethora of league titles and individual accolades from his 14-year managerial career, though it’s fair to say he’s rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way with his treatment of the aforementioned pair.
Both Mahrez and Grealish were instrumental in Manchester City’s resounding 6-3 win over RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium, with the latter marking his Champions League debut with a goal and an assist and the former also getting himself on the scoresheet.
However, with just under half an hour to play and with City seemingly cruising to three points, Guardiola took it upon himself to afford both players a severe dressing down.
The City boss later claimed the pair had neglected the defensive duties he’d tasked them with at half-time, telling BT Sport: "We spoke in half-time about the way we have to do it [defend] and they didn't do it. Fights happen.”
Fair enough, right? Well, it would be if Guardiola hadn’t made a scene more akin to a shopkeeper finding a young kid stealing sweets from his shop, grabbing them by the wrist before unleashing his anger.
Some have claimed Guardiola’s treatment of his players was unacceptable, with others even going as far as to suggest he’d singled out the individuals he was going to publicly humiliate.
And in answer to that, we say: welcome to the mentality of a winner.
For years, Guardiola has been moulding some of the finest talents in the game by teaching the fine balance required between talent and discipline.
Joshua Kimmich was once a young, promising right-back, yet after one season under the stewardship of Guardiola and multiple in-game training sessions from the Spaniard, he had transformed into arguably the most well-rounded footballer on the planet, capable of producing world-class displays in numerous positions.
Some have even gone as far as to suggest Guardiola was putting on a show in front of the cameras, yet to us, that argument seems as redundant as the question ‘if a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears is it, does it actually make a sound?’. Pep could be kicking a ball against a wall by himself and he’d still probably find a mirror to be able to criticise himself.
All too often we witness managers laughing on the touchline when their side is in complete control of a game and they believe their job to be done, but Guardiola’s job is never done. He doesn't just want to win games, he wants to win games, improve his side and dominate for years to come.
If he were to relax when his side were ahead and ignore his players’ mistakes, he’d be sending a message out to his team that it’s fine to ignore his tactics and that would undoubtedly cause problems further down the line.
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It’s no secret that both the City hierarchy and Guardiola are desperate to add the Champions League trophy to their impressive collection of silverware, and while a decent performance in the first game of the competition may not be enough to ensure they win it, a lacklustre display with players who ignore instructions is definitely enough to ensure they don’t.
Yes, football is a game that should be enjoyed, but as a manager of an elite football club, every single kick of the ball should matter to you, regardless of whether your side is winning or not.
So, the next time you see your club’s manager laughing and joking on the sidelines, ask yourself what kind of message that sends out to the players.
Say what you like about Guardiola’s rant at both Mahrez and Grealish, the man is a born winner and he was absolutely right to ignore their contribution to the game and pull them aside if they weren't following his instructions.
Do you Guardiola was right to blast Grealish and Mahrez? Follow our new City Fan Brands Writer Ross Jackson on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.