Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City are not experiencing a personality crisis as he hit back at former Manchester United stars Patrice Evra and Dimitar Berbatov.
The City manager was riled by criticism from Evra and Berbatov, who both work as pundits, after City surrendered a winning position against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.
Evra claimed Guardiola "can't train people with personality", while Berbatov offered a response that was not far from Guardiola's own assessment, albeit saying City "had to be more concentrated and focused" in the closing moments.
There was also criticism from former Madrid star Clarence Seedorf, who said City lacked the necessary "mentality" to come through such a test, comparing them to Paris Saint-Germain.
City were 5-3 ahead on aggregate going into the closing minutes against Madrid on May 4, only to concede a quickfire double to Rodrygo, before Karim Benzema hit a penalty winner in extra time.
It was a dizzying turnaround at the Santiago Bernabeu, but City have responded by thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 and picking apart Wolves 5-1 to reassert their Premier League supremacy over Champions League finalists Liverpool.
Guardiola denies City have any issues with their attitude, saying the approach that brought the back-to-back heavy league wins was "the same character that lost to Madrid in the last two or three minutes".
"The former players, like Dimitar Berbatov, Clarence Seedorf, Patrice Evra ... these type of people they were there," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City's match against West Ham on Sunday.
"I played against them and I didn't see this kind of personality when we destroyed them in the Champions League final against United."
That was a reference to Guardiola's Barcelona beating United 2-0 in the 2009 final, when Evra and Berbatov both featured on the losing team at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
The teams also met at the same stage in 2011, but Berbatov was not involved in that game, which Barcelona won 3-1.
"[They say] we don't have personality because we concede in the last minutes, and after the last two games we have personality," Guardiola said.
"Personality is what we have done in the last five years. Maybe Liverpool is going to win all four titles, or just one. Am I going to say they don't have personality or that they had a bad season?
"Of course they have (personality), and of course they are good, but sometimes in football, it happens.
"It is football, you cannot control it. When you always arrive in the latter stages, semi-finals, finals, it is incredible.
"This for me, because we arrive until the end, playing a lot of games, this is the most important thing."
Australian Associated Press
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