PEP GUARDIOLA accused Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of trying to influence the ref ahead of tonight’s Manchester blockbuster.
United boss Solskjaer kicked off hostilities by warning his troops about City using tactical fouls and “kicking their ankles”.
Getty Images – Getty2 Ppe Guardiola says he is unhappy at rival boss Ole Gunner Solskjaer claiming Man City commit many fouls and feels this could be trying to influence derby officials
Getty – Contributor2 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims neighbours City are an aggressive side who will 'snap at your ankles and heels and kick you'
When told about his rival’s comments, City chief Guardiola raged: “I don’t like it. No. My team’s not built to think like that.”
Asked if it could influence ref Andre Marriner, he added: “That is the reason why, of course. I never prepare a game in ten seasons as a manager thinking about these kind of things. Never.
“Never have I said to one player to make fouls to avoid something for the other ones.”
Guardiola’s Treble-chasers have picked up 38 yellow cards this season, compared to 64 for United.
City have also made 291 fouls — considerably fewer than the Red Devils’ 395.
Privately, City are bemused as to why Solskjaer was not given the stats before he came out with his comments yesterday morning.
Guardiola added: “In football, sometimes you do fouls because the actions are fast.
"But I’m concerned about many, many other things to beat them, so I don’t know.
“Maybe in the press conference after the game, you can then ask him again about that.
“I never said I’m going to do that to punish them, or cancel them by making fouls. Never.”
Earlier, Solskjaer had lit the touch paper ahead of tonight’s crunch derby.
City go into the game two points behind leaders Liverpool, with a game in hand, as they battle to retain their title.
While Solskjaer is looking for a response from United after their 4-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday to keep their top-four hopes alive.
The Norwegian did have a point in the sense City commit a higher percentage of fouls (58 per cent) in the opposition half than United (49 per cent).
And Solskjaer said: “We have got to be ready for their pressing.
"They have quality on the ball, so we have got to defend well.
“We have to be ready for their aggression — because they will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you.
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“They won’t allow us easy counter-attacking as there will be fouls. I’ve absolutely no doubt about it.
“Because when you watch those games, they commit so many players forward and they will be stopping us as high as they can.
“It’s just up to us to play through that press.”