Pep Guardiola branded ‘shameful’ and ‘disgraceful’ by furious fans after he backed Benjamin Mendy and claimed others would have broken Covid guidelines on New Year’s Eve after the Man City defender held a party at his £5m mansion with a chef and friends
- Pep Guardiola has been slammed on social media for backing Benjamin Mendy
- The Frenchman admitted to breaking Covid-19 rules in a New Year’s Eve party
- Mendy invited two guests and a chef to his £5million mansion to see in 2021
- But Guardiola claimed others would have broke rules last week, just like Mendy
- His decision to support Mendy has been branded ‘shameful’ and ‘disgraceful’
Pep Guardiola’s decision to defend Benjamin Mendy after the Manchester City star broke Government Covid rules by hosting a New Year’s Eve party has been described as ‘shameful’ and ‘disgraceful’ by furious football fans.
The French defender became the latest in a growing list of high-profile footballers to be caught breaking Government regulations by celebrating during the festive period last week.
Mendy broke Government restrictions by inviting two friends and a chef to his £5million mansion to see in 2021. The mixing of different households indoors is banned under current Tier 4 rules.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to back Benjamin Mendy after he broke Covid rules has angered fans
Mendy (R) broke the rules by inviting two friends and a chef to his £5m mansion to see in 2021
Manchester City are now investigating the breach – which came just three days after a Covid-19 outbreak put paid to their Premier League fixture against Everton earlier this month.
But Guardiola still decided to name Mendy as a substitute for Sunday’s Premier League win at Chelsea and then launched a passionate defence of the 26-year-old afterwards.
The City boss said: ‘Benjamin already had Covid in the past, he has been tested every day like all the other players. He has explained, he knows what he has done and he will learn in the future.
Mendy (left) admitted breaking lockdown rules by throwing a New Year’s Eve party
‘He is part of the group, he is one of the guys who is much beloved in our group. In the stands today he was the most active player. He is a special guy for us and has an incredible heart.
‘I would like to see how many people will now judge him and see if they have the good intentions that he has.
‘But he has to understand some things. I would like to know how many people did this on New Year’s Eve, but normally in this society we judge the others when first we should judge ourselves.
‘I’m not justifying it, he broke the rules. But don’t give too many lessons to the others.’
However, Guardiola’s decision to support Mendy has outraged football fans and some were quick to make their fury known on social media after his interview.
One wrote: ‘Wow. What a way to defend the indefensible. Disgraceful.’
Another tweeted: ‘What an odd thing to say and what kind of message does that send out to people who hear him say that. I guess he’s never heard the phrase two wrong don’t make a right.’
Other furious fans describe Guardiola’s interview as ‘shameful’ and ‘extremely stupid’.
It was even suggested by one fan that clubs should face points deductions if their players break Covid rules. They wrote: ‘Embarrassing. The club should be docked points/fined when players blatantly break the rules. It’s the only way they will actually learn.’
The Man City defender invited two non-household guests and a chef to his £5million mansion
Another criticised Guardiola’s handling of the situation, adding: ‘Latest in a pattern of Guardiola having the opportunity to set an example but instead making it into a siege mentality opportunity (the only manager thus far who has sought to excuse Covid breaches). Genuinely shameful.’
One furious user posted: ‘WHAT?! Whether Mendy gets more attention for breaking the rules than Joe the plumber down the street doesn’t mean breaking the rules is OK.’
News of Mendy disregarding Covid regulations came after a photo including Tottenham players Sergio Reguilon, Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela and West Ham star Manuel Lanzini at a gathering appeared on social media over the weekend.
Images of Fulham striker Aleksandr Mitrovic and Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic celebrating together also emerged.
All clubs involved have condemned their players for flouting regulations.
Tottenham stars Sergio Reguilon, Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini are believed to have broken Covid-19 rules by spending Christmas together
Crystal Palace captain Luka Miliovojevic (left) was seen breaking Covid rules at a New Year’s Eve party with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)
As reported by Sportsmail, top-flight clubs will this week reinforce to players the importance of strictly following Covid protocols away from matches and training to prevent further embarrassment.
The majority of clubs want the season to be completed as normal, knowing any curtailment could have a fatal financial impact.
Managers are growing increasingly concerned about a fixture backlog and increased public pressure for football to be placed into another total lockdown, a prospect the Premier League want to avoid.
They have already written to clubs to ensure they follow the protocols strictly. But the top flight’s rules only encompass training and match-related days — with off-the-pitch protocol having to be reinforced by the clubs.
Prior to the festive period, clubs warned squads to refrain from holding parties to avoid a public backlash if discovered.