Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has shrugged off suggestions that a mocking tweet by defender Kyle Walker could provide extra motivation for leaders Liverpool in their Premier League title battle. Walker posted the comment and then deleted it after Liverpool were held 1-1 by Leicester City at Anfield on Wednesday. Victory would have sent Liverpool seven points clear of defending champions City, who slumped to a 2-1 defeat at struggling Newcastle United on Tuesday night, instead of the current five.
“So basically they thought they were gonna go 7 points ahead,” said Walker, his comment appearing next to a photograph of Leicester’s goal scorer and England international Harry Maguire talking to a person in the crowd during last year’s World Cup.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp appeared unimpressed when asked about it by reporters on Friday. “I never celebrated that another team dropped points or lost a game,” said the German. “For me that’s not allowed.”
Guardiola, however, brushed it aside. “I’m not concerned about the social media, the players tweeting, Instagram…,” he said. “I cannot control it. The motivation is to win games…(it) won’t be about one tweet or another one.”
City kick off a crucial week for their title hopes when they host Arsenal on Saturday. They then travel to Everton on Wednesday for a re-arranged fixture before hosting Chelsea the following Sunday.
The Newcastle defeat was City’s fourth in the league this season but Guardiola felt there was no lack of motivation to do better for a side fighting on four fronts including the Champions League.
“We are not happy about the last performance. Everyone knew at half-time and at the end of the game,” he said. “If we didn’t have motivation, then we would not be here.
“When people say we are the perfect team and we are invincible, my answer is always the same; every game we must improve… and sometimes there are ups and down.”
Guardiola indicated defender Benjamin Mendy, back in training after a knee injury, was likely to be in contention for the Arsenal game but could offer no return date for absent captain Vincent Kompany.