MENDY DEFENDED

City’s Guardiola backs Mendy after Covid protocol breach

Mendy apologised for flouting rules by hosting a party attended by at least three people outside his household

In Summary

•His comments come after some current and former players lambasted Mendy and other Premier League players for failing to act as role models and argued that clubs needed to be stronger and hand out punishments.

•Under British government guidelines, those living in regions with Tier 4 restrictions are not allowed to mix with others outside their own household.

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy in action with Fulham's Mario Lemina on December 5.
Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy in action with Fulham's Mario Lemina on December 5.
Image: REUTERS

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has defended Benjamin Mendy after the full back breached Covid-19 protocols on New Year’s Eve, saying the Frenchman’s critics were too quick to pass judgment.

Mendy apologised for flouting rules by hosting a party attended by at least three people outside his household. Under British government guidelines, those living in regions with Tier 4 restrictions are not allowed to mix with others outside their own household.

“Normally in this society we judge, but society will be better if we judge ourselves. I’m not justifying him, he broke the rules. But don’t give too many lessons to the other ones,” Guardiola told reporters after Sunday’s 3-1 win over Chelsea.

His comments come after some current and former players lambasted Mendy and other Premier League players for failing to act as role models and argued that clubs needed to be stronger and hand out punishments.

“You can’t say ‘deal with it internally’ and still play them. That will fall on deaf ears. To make a real message, you have to drop them from teams,” Derby County defender Curtis Davies told the BBC. Guardiola said footballers should not be held to higher standards because they are viewed as role models.

“They have the same responsibility as everyone else. Mendy knows he made a big mistake, but it finishes here.”

Mendy was an unused substitute in the game at Chelsea. City were without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and goalkeeper Ederson due to positive Covid tests.

Elsewhere, City play-maker Kevin De Bruyne said he was delighted that his team had rediscovered their ruthlessness in Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League victory at Chelsea, although it felt a “bit bizarre” to play as a striker.

With the club’s record goal-scorer Sergio Aguero on the bench as he manages his knee injury and fellow striker Gabriel Jesus out after contracting Covid-19, De Bruyne was moved forward and the Belgian responded with a goal and an assist. “Bit bizarre in the beginning,” De Bruyne told Sky Sports when asked about his experience.

“I’ve done it a few times in my career... Obviously we have a lot of forwards out and the coach asked me to do this job, so I tried my best to do it as good as possible.”

Victory means City are unbeaten in seven league games and fifth in the table with 29 points from 15 matches, four points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

“It’s important we win one of these big games. This season we had played some good games but not won any of them so we have shown we can win the big games,” De Bruyne said.

“We’re still fighting an uphill battle but we are getting closer, that’s all we can do now.“The years we were champions we were winning big games. It’s a bit different this year because everyone is losing points. We had a bad start but we are coming back so it’s a good thing we’re here fighting and that’s all we can do now.”