WIGAN — Pep Guardiola played down his row with Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook and congratulated the League One side after their shock FA Cup victory in the fifth round.
Will Grigg’s 79th-minute strike stunned City for the third straight meeting in the FA Cup after the 2013 final and 2014 quarterfinals — and ended City’s hopes of a clean sweep of four trophies this season.
The game changed when Fabian Delph was controversially sent off after referee Anthony Taylor looked like he was going to give him a yellow card.
Guardiola said after the game that he agreed with the red card, even though at the time of the dismissal the decision sparked a heated exchange between the two benches which continued in the dressing room at half-time.
“It’s a red card. It’s an unnecessary action,” Guardiola told a news conference. “The referee decides what he decides. It can be a red card.”
Asked about the row with the Wigan coaches, he said: “You want to ask me about football, ask me about football. Nothing happened in the tunnel, nothing happened with my colleague. It was just, ‘Stay in your position,’ that’s all.”
With the dream of the quadruple gone, City will now turn their attention to the Carabao Cup, in which they will face Arsenal in the final on Sunday.
But despite a busy fixture slate ahead, Guardiola insisted that “we wanted to go through.”
“Congratulations to Wigan for their victory,” he said. “The way we played it didn’t influence us too much. We conceded one shot on target in 90 minutes and we lost.
“They made some mistakes in general. We knew it would be complicated. We did it quite well, especially in the second half. One mistake and we conceded and we go out.”
There were also ugly scenes at the full-time whistle. Home fans invaded the pitch in celebration but it prompted angry exchanges with away supporters and advertising hoardings appeared to be thrown.
There was also an incident involving Sergio Aguero, who appeared to be involved in an altercation with a fan.
Cook refused to be drawn on any controversy and instead focused on an incredible victory for his team.
“We knew a lot of things had to go right on the night, they play at such an elite level. We had to dig in and the lads did that in abundance,” he said. “The sending off has had a massive influence on the game but of course we’ve managed to win.
“But we should speak about the game. I felt at the time it was a straight red and I don’t think Pep and his bench though it was. There’s obviously a disagreement there but that’s football.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.