Pep Guardiola should stop complaining and get used to the physical nature of English football.
That’s the message from Joey Barton, who insisted the Manchester City manager has got it wrong by claiming players do not get enough protection from referees in this country.
Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on Monday, Barton said: “What does he want, a non-contact sport like Spain or Italy where the game is broken up by a series of set-play after set-play?
“We need to let the game flow. The pace it is moving, there are going to be one or two challenges that are mistimed.
“Pep has to understand this is the nature [of English football].
“There is a physicality to our game which is different to the continent and if you are going to win leagues, it is par for the course. You are going to have to stand up to the examination of our game.
“Stop complaining, get on with it!”
Guardiola’s comments came after Leroy Sane suffered an ankle injury following a bad tackle by Cardiff defender Joe Bennett during City’s 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory on Sunday.
But Barton, speaking alongside former Ipswich and Man United striker Alan Brazil, said: “In Al’s day, you had to go in front of the Old Bailey to get a yellow card.
“The game has progressed. We do protect our players very, very well in this country now compared to what we used to.
“If you look at Serie A and the French league, they are horrible leagues to watch. It is stop, stop, free-kick, free-kick, foul. That is why our league is the best because it does flow.”