Pep Guardiola has responded to the criticisms levelled at Manchester City by Claude Puel and insisted that his club did nothing wrong in their controversial, and high-profile, pursuit of Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez last month.
The Premier League leaders’ failed bid for the Algerian international became one of the biggest stories of the January transfer window and, after it stalled on deadline day, the fall-out was considerable.
Mahrez declared himself in no fit state to return to training with his employers, something he eventually did after a 10-day absence, and his “strike" led to Puel being highly critical of Guardiola’s club this week.
Puel was angered, particularly, by what he saw as City leaving it until the last moment to show their hand, before failing in a £65 million bid which unsettled the player.
City’s response was to claim to have acted above board and to have been freely negotiating with their rivals for a week before the window closed.
And while Guardiola did not want to be dragged into the controversy, he personally defended his club’s behaviour and reputation.
"I think the club made a statement and it was so clear what happened,” said Guardiola.
“The club made a statement and always tries to do the best for us, and of course respecting the opponents."
City’s pursuit of Mahrez coincided with a worrying injury crisis for Guardiola, whose team remains active in all four competitions at home and abroad, and the loss of winger Leroy Sane.
Pep Guardiola defends Man City over Riyad Mahrez pursuit after player went on 'strike' over collapsed move
The Telegraph | Feb 17