Pep Guardiola added some fuel to the flames ahead of Saturday's potentially historic Manchester derby, stating that he was offered Manchester United's prize midfielder Paul Pogba for Manchester City by agent Mino Raiola back in the January transfer window.
Why offer them if I am a bad guy?
The strained rivalry between Guardiola and the 'super-agent' Raiola can be tracked right back to Guardiola's days at Barcelona, with Raiola growing a seeming hatred for the coach with his treatment of two of his clients Zlatan Ibrahimović and Maxwell during their time at the Nou Camp.
Pogba's and his relationship with United coach José Mourinho has hardly been a skip through the meadows in the current campaign, with the their relationship taking some strain at the beginning of the year with Pogba being subbed in the defeat to Tottenham and then dropped for the subsequent victory over Huddersfield.
Raiola took a shot at Guardiola last month labelling him “a coward, a dog” to a Dutch magazine, Saturday's derby certainly didn't need anymore tension added but Guardiola went for Raiola claiming why would the agent offered him both Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan "two months ago" with the latter joining Arsenal if he was a "dog".
“I will answer him; I don’t understand why I am,” Guardiola told his pre-match press conference about Railoa's words. “Finally, the people discover my secrets – a bad guy. I’m a coward. I don’t understand why I am a so bad guy."
"I never speak with him so his opinion [about me], I don’t know," the coach admitted. "But being a guy who two months ago offered me Mkhitaryan and Pogba to play with us. Why?"
“Why he offer? He was interested in Mhikitaryan and Pogba to play with us?," the coach insisted. "So he has to protect his players and has to know he cannot bring the players to a guy like me, like a dog."
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They are going to play a big part
All eyes will be on the Etihad Stadium for what is set to be the biggest Manchester derby in some time, with the Citizens having the opportunity to lift their third Premier League title against their most bitter rivals.
Victory over Mourinho's men will give them a uncatchable 19-point lead with six games to play, but Guardiola will also be eager to regain some confidence following their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League midweek.
There is also no doubt that the crucial second-leg in Eastlands on Tuesday will be in the back of the Catalan's mind with the quick-fire amount of games beginning to show, and the coach stated that they will need a special atmosphere to keep the players going.
"We would like to feel that (special atmosphere) at home tomorrow," he said. "We want the people to come and fill the stadium and support the guys as they deserve it."
"I need their (the fans) support as we are so tired," the coach admitted. "United have had a week to rest but we haven't had much time to recover as Anfield was so tough physically and mentally."
"That’s why it's so important that tomorrow," Guardiola concluded. "We feel their support."