Time to give referees a break, says Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola called on Premier League managers to give referees a break after a touchline spat with Burnley’s Sean Dyche.

The pair clashed verbally after Sergio Aguero equalised from a quick free-kick at the Etihad Stadium.

Dyche was unhappy referee Graham Scott allowed Ilkay Gundogan to take the set-piece, with Guardiola speaking up to defend the officials.

The City chief said: “I apologise, I didn’t want to go out of control. I said, ‘leave the referees, please’. I have a lot of respect for Sean Dyche and the way they play because, of course it’s completely different, but they do it perfectly and that’s why football is tough.

“But I think all the managers around the world, especially here, forget to make their job (easier). If they were offended I’m so sorry, because I don’t want to do that.”

Dyche shrugged off the incident, saying: “You both fight, you both want your teams to win. That’s just how it should be. Everybody’s allowed to be passionate I believe.”

City looked in danger of falling at the first hurdle when a thumping finish from Ashley Barnes gave Burnley a half-time lead.

But the Premier League leaders hit back strongly, with two goals in as many minutes from Aguero turning the tables before Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva added the gloss.

“I’m so happy,” said Guardiola. “It was a tough draw, what Burnley have done in the Premier League so far is amazing.”

Guardiola believes the comeback bodes well for later in the season and praised John Stones for his reaction to the mistake that led to Barnes’s opener.

Dyche felt his side shot themselves in the foot by conceding the second straight after the equaliser. “That can happen here and that was really my only over-riding gripe with the team,” he said.