‘Not doing what they had to’: Pep Guardiola lifts lid on viral touchline rant at Man City stars Mahrez & Grealish (VIDEO)

‘Not doing what they had to’: Pep Guardiola lifts lid on viral touchline rant at Man City stars Mahrez & Grealish (VIDEO)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has cleared up his viral touchline rant at wingers Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish after the pair were berated by their livid boss during the Champions League victory over RB Leipzig.

City opened their Champions League campaign with a 6-3 home win against the Germans, but Guardiola was evidently unhappy with some elements of his team’s performance.

With City 4-2 ahead at the Etihad in the 63rd minute, Guardiola was seen in a heated conversation with Moroccan winger Mahrez, shouting and gesticulating wildly.

There were similar scenes with England wingman Grealish.

Guardiola, 50, later revealed what had wound him up quite so much, suggesting the pair had neglected their defensive duties. 

“We spoke at half-time about the way we had to do it and they didn’t do it. But it happens,” said the Catalan.

“[Leipzig] are so fast to attack in behind. So it’s not absolutely easy to control it. But you regain that ball, there are many players in front of the ball.”

Grealish, who arrived from Aston Villa for a British record £100 million fee in August, also confirmed that defensive duties had been the gist of the dressing-down from his boss.  

“That was just defensive work. I won’t go too much into it because he might want the same tactics for the weekend,” said the 26-year-old.

“That’s what the manager’s like, he’s always wanting more defensively and offensively. And obviously he’s someone that I’m going to listen to after everything he’s done in the game. So obviously he’s just giving out useful information."

Indeed, Grealish and Mahrez aren’t the first to be publicly berated by Guardiola – a trait which even extends to opposition players.

The two-time Champions League-winning manager famously grabbed hold of Southampton’s Nathan Redmond after Manchester City played them in 2017, giving him an animated pep talk.

On Wednesday night the hosts had opened up a 2-0 lead thanks to Nathan Ake and an own goal from Nordi Mukiele, but were pegged back by Christopher Nkunku before Mahrez scored from the penalty sport in first-half injury time.

The entertainment continued after the break as Nkunku scored a second for Leipzig on 52 minutes before club-record signing Grealish struck on his maiden Champions League appearance shortly afterwards to put City 4-2 ahead.

City saw out the game after further strikes from Joao Cancelo and Gabriel Jesus, but not before impressive French youngster Nkunku had completed his hat-trick.

Leipzig were forced to play the closing stages with 10 men after former City defender Angelino received a second yellow card in the 79th minute. 

With swathes of the stands empty at the 55,000-seater Etihad, Guardiola admitted he would like to see more fans at City’s home – which is derisively dubbed ‘the Emptyhad’ by rival supporters for its supposed lack of atmosphere.

“The last three games we’ve played here we’ve scored 16 goals. I would like more people to come to the next game on Saturday,” said the City boss.

Guardiola wants more City fans at the Etihad. © Reuters

City are aiming to retain their Premier League title and go one better than their losing appearance in last season’s Champions League final.

Guardiola’s men take on Southampton and Chelsea in their next Premier League outings, before traveling to Paris Saint-Germain for a blockbuster Champions League clash on September 28.

The star-studded Parisians only managed a draw in their Champions League opener at Club Brugge in Belgian, despite starting with a line-up that included an attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.    

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