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Guardiola slams VAR for believing Man City players are diving

The reigning Premier League champions were denied what looked like a blatant penalty on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola (file pic).
Pep Guardiola (file pic).

PEP GUARDIOLA MADE no effort to hide his irritation after Manchester City were denied a penalty in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

City have been on the receiving end of some tough VAR calls this campaign, most notably in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in August when Gabriel Jesus’ stoppage-time goal was ruled out for what appeared to be an accidental handball by Aymeric Laporte.

The video review system did not help City at Selhurst Park, with the assistant referee deeming Anthony Taylor’s decision not to award the visitors a penalty for what seemed to be a blatant push on Kevin De Bruyne by Wilfried Zaha was correct.

Though the decision did not cost City, who missed several chances to further the lead handed to them by Jesus and David Silva, Guardiola was left furious.

“It’s diving. It’s diving, it’s diving,” Guardiola, who also referred to a similar incident in a match against Bournemouth earlier in the campaign, sarcastically told a news conference when asked if his team should have had a penalty.

“Every weekend it is always diving. [Like at] Bournemouth. But against Tottenham it was hands, real hands in the 94th minute. It’s diving again.

“Of course, I am [frustrated]. Next question.”

With Nicolas Otamendi injured and John Stones not fit enough to start, Guardiola named midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri as his centre-back pairing.

“Thank you so much to both of them,” Guardiola said.

“It is not easy playing in different positions against the strikers Palace have; Zaha, [Jordan] Ayew, [Christian] Benteke and [Andros] Townsend at the end, they did really well.”

At the other end of the pitch, Guardiola elected to start Jesus over Sergio Aguero, with the Brazilian’s goal taking him onto 50 for City.

Jesus has now scored in each of his past seven starts in all competitions and Guardiola insisted he is delighted with the performances of his strikers.

“I’m not going to talk about how important Sergio is for our club, he is so important,” Guardiola added.

“Gabriel, he came back from Brazil, he had rhythm. Sergio was 10 days away without training, but both are important. When Sergio plays he is at a good level and when Gabriel plays he is at a good level, after that I will take a decision.”

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