Guardiola defends Klopp over Merseyside derby winner celebration

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Pep Guardiola has defended rival Jurgen Klopp after the German ran onto the field to celebrate Liverpool’s late winner against Everton on Sunday.

Liverpool moved back within two points of Guardiola’s Manchester City at the top of the Premier League as Divock Origi headed a dramatic injury-time decider in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Reds boss Klopp responded by charging onto the field to celebrate with goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Guardiola recognises such actions can be disrespectful but he empathises with Klopp, who has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association.

The Spaniard is is well aware emotions can run high and accepts he himself got carried away after Raheem Sterling scored a late winner against Southampton last season.

The City manager said: “I did it against Southampton. There are a lot of emotions in those moments.

“I know when I did it I was not happy to have done that, so I can understand (Everton manager) Marco Silva, (then Southampton boss Mauricio) Pellegrino when it happens.

“But sometimes it’s what it is, it’s an emotional game. Last minute, everything happens in your mind, heart and body and sometimes you do that. I talk for my side but of course you have to be respectful for the other ones.”

Guardiola expects such incidents to be viewed differently by fans of the winning and losing sides.

He said: “When you lose you are impolite, you are a bad guy, and when you win everything is acceptable. We live in a world where everyone judges the winners and we make a lot of big compliments just because we win.”

Guardiola was speaking at a press conference to preview the champions’ trip to Watford on Tuesday.

Sterling will go into the game high on confidence after another outstanding display – and a subsequent raft of praise – in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of Bournemouth. The England forward has been in fine form this season and has now scored nine goals in all competitions for City.

Guardiola, however, continues to demand improvement.

He said: “He can do better. We are so delighted with what he’s done in three years but he can do better.

“He can be more consistent – first controls, his receptions, many, many things. I’ve said many times we are delighted but he can do better.”

Watford are 10th in the table and without a win in four games but Guardiola feels they are in good hands in fellow Spaniard Javi Gracia, who signed a new long-term contract at Vicarage Road last week.

He said: “Watford have some continuity around the same project, same ideas and same manager. It gives some stability to the club. Hopefully he goes well and he can stay a long time there.”

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