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Yaya DISGRACE! Why Man City legend deserves better than petty Pep

COMMENT: Whoah. Whoah. Hang on. We weren't supposed to see this side of Pep for at least a year. We're barely a month into the season and he's already baring his teeth?

How can Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, hold Yaya Toure responsible for what his agent says? How can the English game tolerate it?

For those who were asleep, Guardiola announced to the world yesterday that Yaya would not be in his squad for the EFL Cup tie with Swansea City, nor would he be considered for any future games, until his agent, Dimitri Seluk apologised. Oh, and it wouldn't be just any old apology... "Until Mr Dmitri Seluk comes back in the press or his friends in the media, he has the courage to call me, go to the media and apologise to Manchester City first.

"Then a second one to his own team-mates and after that the trainer.

"When that happens Yaya will be part of the group and he will have the same chance to play all the games."

That's right, Seluk must not only apologise to Guardiola, but also to the players and directors. A 3-for-1 deal. Just charmin'.

Yaya hasn't downed tools. He hasn't thrown any type wobbler, even after being snubbed for City's Champions League squad. Insiders say the Ivorian has been training the house down. Guardiola, himself, has described Yaya's application as "amazing". So this isn't about football. This isn't about the player. This is about the ego of Guardiola and Seluk's big gob.

The Pepitas out there, in their little waistcoats and pointy shoes, will write and drone on about birthday cakes and ageing legs. And sure, City are now pressing ahead without the big man. But he's been the biggest influence at Manchester City for the past six years. A constant presence in the club's greatest era. Twice League winner. Twice League Cup winner. And a holder of an FA Cup winner's medal. He's helped build City's profile across Africa and around the world. He deserves better than this.

Will there be a backlash? It's doubtful. Guardiola can do no wrong. Especially when he's winning. And City do look impressive. But we were saying the same about Chelsea and Manchester United a fortnight ago. Geez, imagine if Jose Mourinho had pulled off the same crass act with one of his players? The pundits would be filing their copy before he'd left the conference room. But Guardiola? The Pepitas? At the moment, it's crickets.

As it was when Guardiola dubbed every team his City had faced so far this season "long ball". Oh, apart from Bournemouth, of course. That's not just Jose Mourinho he's insulted (and we all enjoyed that). But Slaven Bilic, David Moyes and Mark Hughes. The focus was on his post-match claims that Eddie Howe's Cherries were the "best team" City had so far faced. But branding his new peers nothing more than "long ball" merchants isn't exactly going to win him friends.

But no matter. City are winning. And in style. Forget that second-half at United. Against Bournemouth. Mighty Bournemouth. Guardiola's team was unstoppable. They'll sweep the league. Indeed, they could pull off a clean sweep of trophies, which one fawning reporter put to the manager this week.

But, yes, this was Eddie Howe's Bournemouth. At the Etihad. A team which plays similar to City - but without the multi-millionaire stars. Old Trafford was a test. And they came through it. Though not comfortably. Indeed, Walter Mazzarri's Watford looked better against United than City did in that second-half a fortnight ago.

“Guardiola wins a few games and thinks he's king," says Seluk - and its words Guardiola should heed.

City have hardly been tested. Outside of United, their other opponents this season occupy the bottom four places in the table. In contrast, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have taken seven points from a possible nine away at Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea. And they're in sixth place. Does Guardiola's achievements after five games really warrant such adulation?

And does it allow the Spaniard the leeway to treat Yaya Toure, six years a City veteran, in such a manner?


INJURY TIME

Raheem Sterling is a Pep Guardiola player. There's no doubt about it. As much as we're celebrating the form of Kevin de Bruyne and the revival of David Silva, Sterling's re-emergence has been one of the great stories of not only Manchester City's campaign so far, but the Premier League overall.

Sterling is serious about his career. And this is what attracted Guardiola when first asking City chiefs Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano about the players he'd be inheriting from Manuel Pellegrini. Forget the images on social media of his flash car and big house, Sterling wants to improve as a footballer. It's what drove him as a junior from QPR to Liverpool. And what convinced him to leave Anfield for City.

At City, Sterling was amazed by the step up in post-match analysis from what he was used to at Melwood. He loves the fitness indicators, the possession stats, all the read-outs players receive after every game. But that same enthusiasm wasn't shared by Pellegrini.

In contrast, Sterling has found his new manager of similar mind. And it's why Guardiola, while so many were writing off the England man, was so keen to hold onto him. In Sterling, the manager sees a player determined to learn, improve and take on constructive criticism. And in Guardiola, Sterling has found a manager who will pour over the post-match analysis with him, discuss his faults and offer advice on how to eliminate them.

In Sterling's re-emergence, you can see Guardiola isn't Pellegrini, nor is he Roy Hodgson. He's the right manager for this type of committed, English footballer.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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