Pep Guardiola responds to being accused of lack of respect for Liverpool celebration

Pep Guardiola has responded to accusations of a lack of respect towards Liverpool, following his side's celebration of Kostas Tsimikas' goal against the Reds.

The Manchester City manager was accused of a “lack of class” by former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who criticised Guardiola's decision to celebrate Tsimikas' second-half strike in last week's 4-2 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Speaking ahead of City's clash with West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, Guardiola said: “I am a manager who respects my opponents. The celebration was only for the goal of Kostas Tsimikas, who is a new player for us.

“I understand the opinion of Jamie Carragher, but I think sometimes football is emotional and it was just a reaction to the goal. It was not disrespect.”

Guardiola went on to praise his team for their performance against Liverpool and insisted that they deserved the victory.

He added: “It was an incredible game and we had to fight until the end. We created many chances and we scored four goals against a very good team.

“The players showed me a lot of respect when we won and I think that is the most important thing. We must be happy but in a respectful way.”

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also praised his players for their efforts in recent weeks, citing their improved defensive performances as key to their success.

He said: “We have been much better defensively in the last few games, and that is the most important thing. We must be solid and be able to control the game in the defensive phase.

“If we can do that, we will have more chances to win games.”

Although Guardiola's side were not at their best against West Brom, they were able to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory thanks to Raheem Sterling's late strike. The win puts them six points clear at the top of the Premier League table.