Guardiola explains explosive 'shut up' row with De Bruyne during Man City’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid
Manchester City eased past Real Madrid and into the Champions League final, but Kevin De Bruyne and Pep Guardiola were involved in a heated exchange.
The Premier League leaders swept their way to a 4-0 victory over the reigning European champions at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, allowing them to book a date with Inter in Istanbul on June 10.
City made light work of overcoming Real, as they dominated throughout, but demanding coach Guardiola lost his cool with talismanic midfielder De Bruyne at one point during the second half as the Belgian playmaker squandered possession.
De Bruyne did not take kindly to the touchline input from his manager and was caught on camera screaming “shut up, shut up” back in the direction of the City dugout.
Pep “Pass the ball!, Pass the ball!”— The Pep (@GuardiolaTweets) May 17, 2023
Kevin De Bruyne “Shut up! Shut Up!” pic.twitter.com/a0Aa0GR4q6
On seeing De Bruyne deliver an angry response to the technical area and why he felt the need to deliver such advice in the midst of a heavyweight continental clash, Guardiola told Movistar:
“At 2-0 we rushed a lot. Right after the break [Ilkay] Gundogan lost a ball, Kevin made three transitions that weren’t necessary and we rushed a lot when we had to do the opposite, sink them and turn them, sink them and turn them. But it’s normal. It gets close, you rush, and it has cost us more, although in general we have had an extraordinary game.”
Former Belgium coach Thierry Henry - who was on punditry duty for CBS Sports - went on to shed some light as to why De Bruyne was feeling a little emotional, with the Frenchman saying after a post-game chat with the City star:
“It was [a touching moment]. I can't say it because I have to keep that private. But from what he said to me, I even more respect how he played tonight and how he came and battled with his team. I can't share what he said because I can't share it. That's how it is. But once again I will go back to, for me he is the most important player.”
Guardiola has questioned De Bruyne’s contribution to the City cause at times this season, but the 31-year-old remains an integral part of the Blues’ plans as they look to chase down a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 2022-23.