The Blues boss says he does not enjoy making controversial decisions but that he has to do so for the good of the club, rather than to prove he is in charge
Pep Guardiola insists he does not ostracise players simply to prove he is boss and says moving on Joe Hart has been the toughest decision of his time at Manchester City so far.
Guardiola sent England No.1 Hart out on loan after deciding he did not feature in his best XI and earlier this week revealed that Yaya Toure will not play for the club again until he apologises for comments made by his agent.
It can also now be revealed that Toure did not travel with the rest of the City squad to Wales for their four-day training camp either side of their two matches with Swansea City.
Toure trained on Monday and Tuesday after missing several days with a migraine but has not been with the group since Guardiola told the press he has no chance of playing due to Dimitri Seluk’s public outbursts.
Seluk hit back at Guardiola on Tuesday afternoon, insisting, among other things, that the Catalan kicks out players with big personalities so he can stamp his authority on the dressing room.
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But the City manager says he would rather not have to make tough decisions at all.
“Believe me, I don’t take the decisions to show my authority,” Guardiola told reporters. “With these kinds of decisions, forget about it. I don’t like to take those decisions.
“The toughest decision I made was over Joe. I know what Joe Hart means to this club. His behaviour, from the beginning when we spoke to each other, Joe with me… it was tough.”
But Guardiola does acknowledge that his players must accept the choices he makes, because he is the “chief”.
He added: “I don’t know whether they agree or not but what happens in my team, in the squad, I am the chief. I’m the manager and I’m going to decide. Not for me, I don’t like to do that. But it’s the best for the club.”
When Guardiola sold Samuel Eto’o a month after the striker played a vital role in Barcelona’s 2009 treble win, he insisted that the decision, based on “a question of smell”, was “for the best of the team and the club” and that “if I’m wrong, the responsibility will be mine alone”.
He echoed those sentiments earlier this week, saying he will ultimately be held responsible for any failings at City and even suggesting his decisions over Hart and Toure could be thrown back in his face when the club’s winning run comes to an end.
“I learned that in Barcelona,” he reflected. “When I take a decision it is always because I am thinking what is the best for Manchester City. The best.
“Making mistakes… I know what’s going to happen when we are going to lose. All the reasons why we are losing must be because of the coach, the manager.
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“I have to be honest with myself. I have to be honest with the club. So the club – I take the decision always for the benefit of the club. Knowing maybe I am going to make a mistake but I have to do that. I have to do that.”
The 45-year-old believes he has got better at making these difficult decisions over time, although it appears keeping Toure out of his matchday squads will have been one of his easiest calls given his views on players’ agents or family members creating problems for the club.
“I did it when I was 37 years old with the first team in Barcelona so now I am older,” he continued. “So I have to do that. I have to do that. The club cannot accept that an agent talks to the media about the decision of the club. No, the club is not going to accept it. And the players know that.
“The agents, the wives, the fathers, the sons – talking about something which is not a good benefit for the club, they will not be part of the team. They will not be part of the team. The most important thing is the club.”