Pep Guardiola is reported to have locked his Manchester City players in the dressing room for 40 minutes following their defeat to Tottenham on Sunday, as their dwindling title defence took yet another blow.
City dominated for long spells at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and registered 18 shots to their hosts' three. After Sergio Aguero had spurned a number of good chances, however, a red card to Oleksandr Zinchenko turned the game on its head, and goals from debutant Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min left them ruing their earlier profligacy.
While the defeat itself was cause for concern, it's perhaps even more damning when you put it into context. It represented their sixth defeat in 25 Premier League games, and means they have now dropped 24 points with 13 games remaining - after dropping just 30 over their two previous seasons combined.
Their dramatic dip has coincided by a similarly notable improvement from Liverpool, who now sit 22 clear of City and within six wins of prying the title from their grasp. In summary, there was plenty for Guardiola to be unhappy about at the close of play on Sunday.
Guardiola’s not even done his press conference yet. That’s a hell of a talking to— Sam Lee (@SamLee) February 2, 2020
And various outlets, including Liverpool Echo, are reporting that the players were kept in the away dressing room for as many as 40 minutes following the defeat.
It's unclear exactly what was said in the extended post-match briefing, but while you might assume the players felt Guardiola's wrath, the manager himself insisted after the match that he 'wasn't angry'.
“I’m not angry," he said, as quoted by The Telegraph. "Normally I don't like it if we don't play good, if we don't run or we don't fight.
"Never when we lose do I stay away from my players because I know them. But we lost the game, so we talked about how to move forward and keep going.
"There’s a lot of months to play and try to do it.”