Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola claims the rise of social media is a significant threat to the fragile relationship between managers and players.
Jose Mourinho’s strained relations with Paul Pogba at Manchester United came under the spotlight again this week after posts placed on Instagram by the controversial France star.
Across Manchester, Guardiola has his own issues with social media and off-field behaviour after admitting he had to remind Benjamin Mendy of his responsibilities when the City defender arrived late for treatment to an injury on Sunday.
Mendy, who has now missed City’s last four games, has a bruised metatarsal in his foot, yet the France international posted photographs of himself late on Saturday at Anthony Joshua’s title fight at Wembley in London.
Guardiola confirmed he had no problem with Mendy travelling to London for the bout despite his injury.
But the Spaniard is clearly frustrated by Mendy’s absence after he missed nearly all of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
“I don’t know (when he will return). I think soon, but I don’t know,” Guardiola said.
“When a guy comes here and is injured for seven months or arrives here and plays two or three games and after one month is injured it’s always a problem.
“It’s always a problem to be involved in the way we want to play and the meetings and correcting mistakes. That’s why it’s so important. Hopefully this injury can be the last.”
The situation between Guardiola and Mendy appears nowhere near as combustible as the clash of the egos between Mourinho and Pogba.
However, Guardiola admits that social media, and the scrutiny that comes with it, has become a problem and, tellingly, he has already issued Mendy a polite suggestion this season that he should tone down his behaviour in that area.
“Characters are quite similar or the same,” he said. “Competitors are competitors. Nice guys are nice guys. The egos are the same.
“The only difference is social media. Now it’s more popular. Before, nobody knew what the players did inside the locker room or outside.
“Now everybody knows everything. Years ago they were human beings, they are human beings now too.
“With fears and good things and bad things. So it’s quite similar. Now the media are more involved.
“Ten years ago nobody expected to make a documentary about what happened inside the locker room and now we made a documentary about what happened inside the locker room.
“Now everybody outside knows what happens inside, so we have to adapt. Human beings are the same. It was the same before.”
– ‘I spoke with him’ –
Still, Mendy has been told, in no uncertain terms, that arriving late for training is unacceptable by the City manager.
“The players should be here and he knows it. I spoke with him,” Guardiola said.
“I’m unhappy at every player arriving late. They have to be on time. Normally when you arrive on time you arrive on time in the game.
“At the high level when you arrive late you arrive late in the game.
“But I have no problem (going to London). Boxing is so important in England. In Spain nobody cares.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola confirmed he would like to see City captain Vincent Kompany, who was this week awarded a testimonial, be given a new contract when his current one expires in June.
Kompany is in talks over a testimonial match to be played in August and Guardiola said: “Yes, that is my wish.
“Hats off! Ten years is a lot. It’s incredible. He played the League Cup this week like it’s the final of the Champions League. That means a lot to me.
“If he plays five minutes then they are going to be the best five minutes in his life.”